A Sheriff's Aviation unit rescued a man who was stranded in his vehicle in the snow for three days in Lytle Creek, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

On Jan. 22, Robert Retana, a 52-year-old resident of Jurupa Valley, drove his off-road vehicle near the Taiute Campground in the North Fork of Lytle Creek, intending to camp one night.

However, Retana's vehicle became stuck and because he had no cell service, he was unable to call for assistance. Retana slept in his car an additional two nights, during which several feet of snow fell in the area. He ran his vehicle throughout each night to stay warm but ran out of gas on the morning of Jan. 25.

Shortly before 11 a.m. that day, Retana picked up a cell signal and called 9-1-1 for assistance, which provided San Bernardino County Sheriff's Dispatch with an approximate GPS coordinates for emergency personnel to respond to his location.

Deputies from the Fontana Station and Sheriff's Aviation 40King6 responded to search for Retana. The crew members of 40King6 attempted to fly up North Fork Canyon, but the cloud layer was too low, and they had to turn back when they were about 6 miles from Retana.

The crew then found an opening in the clouds, which allowed them to fly into the next canyon north and parallel North Fork. They found another opening in the clouds and were able to search for Retana near the GPS coordinates. They located his vehicle in the snow and made contact with him via their public address system.

The crew found a small clearing nearby, which they used to conduct a hover-step rescue of Retana.

The crew then flew Retana to the Lytle Creek Ranger Station, where they released him to Fontana deputies and a waiting ambulance.

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