Man Missing for 10 Days Found Alive in Wooded Area After Surviving Off of Wild Berries in California

Lukas McClish was rescued after witnesses reported hearing him “yelling for help” not far from where he was last seen

<p> Santa Cruz County Sheriff

Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

Luka McClish, courtesy of Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office

A California man, who was missing for 10 days, has been found alive.

Lukas McClish, 34, disappeared on June 11 and was found 10 days later in a wooded area in California a few miles away from where he had been last seen, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office.

On Friday, June 21, the sheriff’s office shared that they received a report from “witnesses” who  heard someone “yelling for help” in the Foreman Creek area off of Big Basin Highway, about five miles north of Boulder Creek, which is about 27 miles southwest of San Jose, Calif.

McClish was last seen 10 days earlier wearing all-black clothing and walking on foot in Boulder Creek, the sheriff’s office previously shared.

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Deputies from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department, along with first responders from State Parks, Cal Fire and the Boulder Creek Fire Department, eventually confirmed that the voice came from McClish, and they used drones to determine his “exact location.”

Boulder Creek Fire Protection District Chief Mark Bingham told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that the area had steep terrain and large boulders that blocked rescuers’ view, and that the canyon’s thick tree canopies also made it difficult for helicopters to see anything.

He noted that they used speakers to pick up McClish’s voice and dropped a GPS pin of where it was coming from. He said two park rangers with a K9 partner were able to get a “track” of McClish from “off of the creek bed” where he got water and the K9 led the rangers to McClish’s location.

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“State Parks rangers were first on scene with Lukas, and fire crews were able to assist in bringing him to safety,” the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said on social media, adding that McClish had “no major injuries and was reunited with his family.”

McClish told local news outlet KSBW that he had only brought a flashlight and folding scissors with him when he left because he intended to go on “a three-hour hike to go to work,” but eventually got lost in the Santa Cruz mountains.

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He said he collected water from a nearby waterfall at the canyon and would drink it out of his boots and eat wild berries he found to stay alive. He said he also slept on a bed of leaves, and though he would often call out for help hoping that someone would hear him, he also kept calm.

“I felt comfortable the whole time I was out there. I wasn't worried.” McClish told the outlet. “I had a mountain lion that was following me, and it was cool. It kept its distance. I think it was just somebody watching over me.”

Bingham told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that it was a testament to his survival skills that he stayed alive for over a week: “He did have a minor injury … but, for the most part, he was disoriented and lost and surviving off of the land, which is pretty impressive to say what a tough individual he was or is.”

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