Rescued Hiker: “We Weren’t Meant to Die”

Nicolas Cendoya released from Mission Hospital on Sunday

One of the two hikers rescued from the Cleveland National Forest said Sunday that he was in and out of consciousness while stuck in a rugged Orange County canyon.

"The last thing I could tell you was going into a lucid dream," said 19-year-old Nicolas Cendoya. "I can't even tell you when I woke up. I was in lucid dreams and hallucinations for days."

Cendoya was released from Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo in Sunday.

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"I could see the helicopters flying over me every day," Cendoya said. "When the firefighters came up to me, I couldn't even believe it."

"We weren't meant to die," he said.

Cendoya and Kyndall Jack, 18, were saved last week after getting lost and separated during a hike in the Trabuco Canyon area.

Jack, who was rescued a day after Cendoya, has since messaged Cendoya, thanking him for helping the pair survive.

Cendoya was hospitalized in Mission Viejo, while Jack was at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange. Both hikers suffered dehydration along with cuts and bruises.

Jack remained hospitalized in good condition as of Sunday and no discharge date has been set yet, according to UC Irvine Healthcare spokesman John Murray.

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