Fire Agency to Seek Reimbursement in O.C. Hiker Rescue

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Nicolas Cendoya, rescued hiker

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KTLA) — Fire officials have announced they will seek reimbursement for the cost incurred in the search and rescue effort to find a hiker who was later charged with being in possession of methamphetamine.

The Orange County Fire Authority asked for $55,000 in restitution in a motion filed in court Wednesday.

The motion was made in connection with a drug possession case against Nicolas Cendoya, one of two hikers who were lost in Holy Jim Canyon in Cleveland National Forest in April.

Back in May, officials announced they would not seek repayment of the $160,000 spent rescuing two Costa Mesa hikers.

But the agency’s 25-member board decided in a closed-session meeting last month to seek reimbursement after all, Division Chief Kris Concepcion told the OC Register.

The massive five-day search for the two hikers began on Easter Sunday.

It cost the department $160,000 to mount the emergency response which involved multiple agencies and resulted in a serious injury to one of the rescuers, who fell 60 feet.

The injured reserve deputy, Nick Papageorge, has also filed a restitution motion in the case.

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