A vehicle belonging to a couple reported missing on Friday after going on a hike in Joshua Tree National Park has been recovered, authorities said as the search continued for the hikers amid extreme heat.
Search and rescue crews are out looking for Rachel Nguyen and Joseph Orbeso, who were hiking in the area on Thursday and reported missing the following day, according to a news release from the National Park Service.
The last sign of the couple was a ping on the man’s cellphone recorded about 4 p.m. Thursday, the release stated. It is believed they went missing some time after 6 a.m. Friday, according to a post on the Joshua Tree Search & Rescue Facebook page.
Crews were called in after the vehicle, a burgundy Lexus, was found in the vicinity of the Maze Loop, near the park’s west entrance, about 4 p.m. Friday. Trackers processed the tracks near the vehicle, and believe the two were headed north into a canyon before their disappearance.
Family members said the pair were experienced hikers. Nguyen’s uncle said the couple planned a trip to the national park to celebrate Nguyen’s birthday. The young couple was staying at an Airbnb, and the property’s owner reported them missing when they failed to check out as scheduled on Friday, the uncle said.
Several search teams have been deployed, as well as dogs who picked up a scent. Two fixed-wing aircraft and two helicopters have also been utilized during the search, said George Land, a ranger and spokesman for the park.
There’s no reason to suspect foul play, he said.
“We believe, unfortunately, we’ve got two young people that have gotten lost in the park, and we’re doing our best to try to find them,” Land said.
Sixty to 100 searchers are working on and off the trail in the park in one of the largest…