A man who vanished in the Angeles National Forest has been found alive thanks to the help of search and rescue drones.
The search for Novak Zemplinski, 46, began after someone reported his vehicle had been abandoned for several days in a turnout along Mt. Wilson Red Box Road, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
When deputies arrived, they found the car was unlocked and the owner was nowhere to be found.
“While vehicles often are abandoned along the road, this vehicle was in an unusual spot,” LASD said. “The suspicious circumstances prompted us to do further investigation.”
Authorities searched the rugged terrain but found nothing.
They also contacted a family member who confirmed that Zemplinski was the car’s owner and that he was from Wayne County, Michigan. The last contact with him had been late Sunday evening.
On Thursday morning, the Sheriff’s Department called in the Sierra Madre Search & Rescue Team and a specialized drone SAR crew to help with the mission.
They located Zemplinski about 200 feet over the side of the road.
“[He] was awake, but barely moving,” LASD said.
The drone team directed ground crews to Zemplinski, who was airlifted out of the forest and transported to a hospital in moderate condition.
“We are happy that our collective #teamwork resulted in us finding the missing person. We wish him a speedy recovery!” officials tweeted.