California Teen Hikers Update: Nicholas Cendoya found, Kyndall Jack still missing in Calif. forest, authorities say

Nicholas Cendoya (left) and Kyndall Jack
CBS Los Angeles
Nicholas Cendoya (left) and Kyndall Jack
CBS Los Angeles

(CBS/AP) RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. - One of two missing California hikers was found alive Wednesday after a three-day search in Southern California's Cleveland National Forest, a sheriff's spokesman said. An intensified hunt for the second hiker will continue Thursday with renewed hoped after her companion was found.

PICTURES: 1 hiker found, 1 still missing in Calif. forest

Sheriff's investigators plan to talk to 19-year-old Nicholas Cendoya at length, hoping to get more direction on where to look for his companion, 18-year-old Kyndall Jack.

Cendoya was found severely dehydrated and was talking to paramedics but struggled to answer questions about what happened and where Jack might be, Orange County sheriff's Lt. Jason Park said.

"He was extremely confused and disoriented," Park said.

Another hiker found Cendoya at about 8 p.m. Wednesday.  The hiker then told a training crew of firefighters -- who were not involved in the search and just happened to be nearby -- where to find him, Park said.

They found Cendoya in thick brush about a half-mile south of where much of the search was focused. Cendoya was flown to a hospital 20 miles away in Mission Viejo.

Several dozen searchers with the help from three helicopters were combing the rugged hills of Trabuco Canyon in the national forest. They were searching the area because a 911 call from the hikers' cellphone on Sunday night was traced to a nearby cell tower, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. John Muir.

Muir said earlier that Cendoya and Jack's "probability for survival is good" with mild weather both day and night.

The two were believed to have gone off trail near Holy Jim Trail, a tree-lined dirt path along a creek that leads to a waterfall and is popular with day hikers.

In the 911 call, they said they were about a mile from Jack's car, which was parked at a trailhead, but rescuers expanded the search when they weren't found nearby.

Jack's mother drew a message on the car's dusty windshield that read: "Kyndall - we r looking wont stop love you mom," and signed it with a heart.

"When you're disoriented because you're out of breath and tired and you think you're one mile away, you could be potentially three or four miles away," Muir said Wednesday afternoon. "There's a lot of ground to cover."

It was unclear whether the lost hikers carried water. Jack's father, Russ Jack, said he worried the pair might be dehydrated.

The area is in a section of the national forest in the Santa Ana Mountains, which lie along the border of Orange and Riverside counties southeast of Los Angeles. The trail ranges in elevation from about 2,000 feet to about 4,000 feet.

More on Crimesider
April 3, 2013 - Calif. Teen Hikers Missing: Search intensifies for Nicholas Cendoya and Kyndall Jack in Cleveland National Forest
April 2, 2013 - Calif. Teen Hikers Missing: Authorities resume search for Nicholas Cendoya and Kyndall Jack in Cleveland National Forest