A 23-year-old Garden Grove man was being mourned Thursday, two days after he plummeted to his death while attempting to rescue a fellow hiker on Mount Baldy, according to the Los Angeles Times and loved ones, who cited authorities’ account of the incident.
Daniel Nguyen was pronounced dead at the scene about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, according to a statement from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Coroner Division.
Nguyen and his friend were on the Devil’s Backbone Trail about 7 a.m. when the friend began to lose footing, sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller told The Times. As Nguyen struggled to pull his friend to safety, he slipped and fell some 1,500 feet down the mountainside, the newspaper reported.
About 40 minutes later, the Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call from the friend, who reported Nguyen missing, a news release from the agency stated. The department’s Aviation Division responded to the area and found the fatally injured man shortly after 9 a.m.
According to the AllTrails website, Devil’s Backbone Trail is 12.9-mile hike that is rated as “difficult.”
Nguyen, a recent graduate of Cal State Long Beach, “loved outdoor activities and was an avid hiker,” according to a GoFundMe page created after his death.
“The investigators let his father know he died a hero … pulling his friend who was slipping and thus he plunged to his death,” the page stated.
As of Thursday afternoon, nearly $20,000 had been raised to help pay for Nguyen’s funeral expenses.
On Cal State Long Beach’s official Facebook page, Nguyen was described at a 2015 graduate who majored in kinesiology and “will be remembered for doing what he loved.”