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Missing Hiker, 76, Found After Being Lost In Joshua Tree

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK (CBSLA) – A 76-year-old legally blind man who went missing for three days in Joshua Tree National Park was found safe Tuesday morning.

At about 8 p.m. Saturday, National Park Service rangers discovered David Sewell's Honda Odyssey abandoned at the Quail Springs Day Use Area.

According to the park service, there was a note in the minivan from Sewell, which read that he had left for a day hike that morning, and if he was not back by Sunday, he would need help.

When he did not return, a search got underway at 6:45 a.m. Monday involving about 50 personnel, two K-9 teams and California Highway Patrol air support.

Sewell's daughter subsequently informed officials that her father suffered from numerous health issues and was also legally blind.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, searchers found Sewell conscious and talking, NPS reports. He was airlifted out of the park and then taken by ambulance to the Hi-Desert Medical Center in Palm Springs.

Park spokesman George Land called Sewell's survival "a miracle," telling the Los Angeles Times that Sewell didn't have water for the three days he was missing.

In October of last year, the bodies of a young Orange County couple who had gone missing while hiking in Joshua Tree that July were found in a steep canyon north of the Maze Loop Trailhead. An autopsy deemed their deaths a murder-suicide.

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