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Volunteer who Helped Rescue Stranded Hikers Sues One of Them for Getting Injured in the Process

Nick Papageorge fell 110 feet down a cliff while searching for Kyndall Jack, breaking his spine. Jack's hiking buddy was later found to have drugs with him.

Kyndeall Jack was one of two stranded hikers. Patch file photo.
Kyndeall Jack was one of two stranded hikers. Patch file photo.

Originally posted at 1:08 p.m. June 26, 2014. Edited with new details.

A volunteer who suffered spinal injuries while trying to rescue a woman who got lost while hiking in Trabuco Canyon with a friend who later admitted to drug possession filed a lawsuit against the woman, his attorney said today.

Nick Papageorge was injured in April 2013 while searching for then-18-year-old Kyndall Jack, who went missing along with friend Nic Cendoya while hiking in the Cleveland National Forest. The pair set out on their hike March 31, 2013. Cendoya was found on April 3, while Jack was rescued the next morning.

Cendoya later pleaded guilty to possessing 497 milligrams of methamphetamine that was found in his car in a parking lot.

According to his lawsuit, which was filed June 16, Jack and Cendoya "headed out unprepared and unqualified to a remote and dangerous mountain area with the intent to take hallucinogenic drugs, knowing the likelihood of becoming disoriented, lost and requiring the subject rescue."

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Papageorge's' attorney, Eric Dubin, said his client fell 110 feet down a cliff while searching for Jack, breaking his spine. He said earlier that Papageorge's had titanium screws put in his back.

The lawsuit contends that Jack created the emergency situation through her own negligence.

"Her willful conduct of placing herself in a recklessly dangerous situation caused the subject injury and devastation to plaintiff," according to the Orange County Superior Court lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, but Dubin said Papageorge's has incurred more than $500,000 in medical injuries.

"We're hopeful that she has insurance that's applicable and that this can be easily resolved" before going to trial, Dubin told City News Service.

Dubin would not address why Cendoya was not also named in the lawsuit.

Jack could not be reached for comment. Days after her rescue, she told reporters she hallucinated much of the time she was lost.

She recalled eating "dirt and rocks" and trying to drink water from a straw, which turned out to be a tree branch.

"Oh, and I was getting eaten by a python," Jack said, chuckling at the bizarre hallucination. "I saw animals, but they ended up being branches."

--City News Service


Buster July 01, 2014 at 02:30 PM
Stay lost!
haden ward July 01, 2014 at 03:50 PM
load of crap on all parties involved.
Michele Kremin McAbee July 01, 2014 at 08:22 PM
"We're hopeful that she has insurance that's applicable and that this can be easily resolved" before going to trial, Dubin told City News Service. ~~ She is an 18 year old tweaker. She most likely does not have insurance. Ridiculous law suit. Do NOT go look for someone in the wilderness as a volunteer unless YOU have your own Insurance!
gdogncbd2 July 02, 2014 at 01:06 PM
I think they both clean the bird poop off my car for a year, then review their progress and maybe get another year from them.
april ann July 03, 2014 at 04:25 AM
Some homeowners & renters insurance will actually cover injuries that happen while out of town on business or vacation. It's a stab in the dark. But, worth a poke if your a personal injury vultur....uh...I mean lawyer.

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