A missing hiker found alive in April 2013 is now getting sued by one of the men who came to rescue her.
According to a report from the Orange County Register, Nick Papageorge’s (and yes, that’s his name, apostrophe and all), has incurred more than $500,000 in medical injuries as a result of his efforts to rescue then 18-year-old Kyndall Jack and her fellow missing hiker friend Nic Cendoya from the Cleveland National Forest while the pair were hiking in Trabuco Canyon.
The pair set out on the hike March 31, 2013. Cendoya was located on April 3, while Jack was found the following morning.
Cendoya spoke at a press conference outside Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo shortly after his rescue, explaining that the pair “just wanted to go on an Easter adventure,” and adding, “We weren’t meant to die.”
While lost, they reportedly tried to call 911. Unfortunately, their cell phone battery died. They then tried to find their way down the mountain, but fell and got separated.
After that, Cendoya stated that he doesn’t remember much, aside from eating plants to stay alive and hallucinating about being stalked by tigers.
In a separate statement released by the hospital, Cendoya added:
“The whole time I was lost, I felt the presence of Jesus and my friend, Carlos, who died last year of cancer. I felt like they were both with me, inspiring me to stay alive.”
Now here’s the kicker:
Cendoya later pled guilty to possession of 497 milligrams of methamphetamine, which was found in his parked car shortly after the rescue, NBC notes.
From the lawsuit, 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.”
Papageorge’s’ attorney, Eric Dubin, said his client plunged 110 feet while searching for Jack, and broke his spine as a result. Papageorge’s received titanium screws for his back.
Jack created an emergency situation “through her own negligence,” the court docs claim, adding, “Her willful conduct of placing herself in a recklessly dangerous situation caused the subject injury and devastation to plaintiff.”
Cendoya was not named in the lawsuit, an omission that Dubin did not address when speaking to the Register last week.
Do you think, given the new info regarding drug use, that the missing hiker should be responsible for her rescuer’s injuries? Is this lawsuit justified?
Sound off in our comments section!