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May 14, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego Sheriff’s department had planned a training exercise this weekend for Search and Rescue volunteers. The exercise was cancelled, however,  in order to enlist help from the SAR volunteers in a real-life search and rescue mission that has yielded a happy ending.


Patricia McGinn, 63, of La Mesa was found safely at 2:30 p.m. today in a canyon in the 5000 block of Mountainbrook Road in Santa Ysabel by SAR volunteers, after neighbors reported hearing her call for help.


“McGinn was disoriented, hungry and dehydrated, but otherwise okay,” said Melissa Aquino, Sheriff’s media relations officer. “McGinn told SAR volunteers that she slept under a house during the night. It is still not known why she ended up in Santa Ysabel.” The woman has been taken to Palomar Hospital for a checkup, she added.


McGinn wandered away from her pickup in Santa Ysabel yesterday and was reported by witnesses to be disoriented, prompting a search that involved 108 people including Sheriff’s, Search & Rescue, ASTREA, Rural division, California Highway Patrol, Red Cross, U.S. Forest Service and San Diego Mountain Rescue participants.


Searchers combed a one-square-mile area of Wynola, near Santa Ysabel, searching until after midnight and resuming early this morning.


“The Sheriff’s Department is glad that Patricia McGinn was found safely and will soon be reunited with her loved ones,” said Aquino, who thanked the many volunteers and partner agencies who participated in the search.

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