TUOLUMNE COUNTY — A group outing to Yosemite yesterday ended with a Search and Rescue mission for the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office and CHP, and a harrowing night for three women who crashed their SUV down a steep embankment.
On Monday morning, a group of 10 German tourists left San Francisco for a day of sightseeing in Yosemite National Park. At about 4:30 p.m., they fueled up their five rented motorcycles and a GMC Yukon at Crane Flat in Yosemite as they prepared to head out of the park, according to posted reports from the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office.
The group agreed to meet in Groveland at 6:30 p.m. for dinner, and the motorcycles headed west on Highway 120, with the Yukon following.
When the Yukon failed to arrive in Groveland, a report was made to the CHP, and at around 9:30 p.m. the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office received a call from CHP about three overdue female tourists, ranging in age from 16 to 63 years.
CHP officers and Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies searched along Highway 120 all the way to Yosemite Valley, but did not locate the Yukon. On Star was unable to ping because the vehicle was out of range, and cell phone pings were also unsuccessful, says the Sheriff’s Office.
CHP fixed-wing aircraft also combed the area, and Search & Rescue teams joined in the attempt to locate the missing women.
At 1:55 p.m. today, the vehicle and the women were located by the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue team, a half-mile east of Buck Meadows off a steep embankment.
Air ambulances were dispatched to the scene for medical aid and transportation. One woman was reportedly trapped inside the vehicle. The 16-year-old was able to get out on her own, according to the Sheriff’s Office, and one woman was reportedly ejected. Both women were airlifted to Modesto hospitals as emergency crews worked to extricate the last victim from the Yukon.
At 4:10 p.m., the third woman was successfully freed from the wreck and was transported to a landing zone at Sonora Regional Medical Center where EMS personnel were met by an air ambulance.
All three women sustained major traumatic injuries, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
For more details and photos, visit the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.