Updated at 2:50 p.m.—Police were able to safely locate and remove the body of the deceased hiker a little after 2 p.m., Cardoza said. The identities of the hikers will be released following the completion of interviews, and the coroner's examination.
Sheriff’s deputies are searching for the body of a on Sunday in unincorporated Santa Clara County.
Another Hollister resident, who endured major injuries, was also on the hike and reported the fall to police, Sgt. Jose Cardoza of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office said.
“The survivor, he actually had to walk to report what happened or else no one would of found out—at least not off the bat,” Cardoza said. “He had to walk down to a nearby property, I don’t know how far it was, and knocked on somebody’s door to report the incident.”
Sheriff's deputies were initially dispatched to the 14000 block of Pacheco Pass Highway at 4:38 p.m. The surviving hiker, who was transported to a Bay Area hospital for non-life threatening injuries, reportedly tried to point out the direction of his buddy, but had difficulty because he was drifting in and out of consciousness, Cardoza said.
With a vague idea of the hiker’s whereabouts, Search and Rescue crew, California Department of Forestry (CFD) officials and deputies began to hike through the terrain to locate his exact position. A couple of emergency personnel also came close to being injured during the search.
“They had to go hike in this rough area, a lot of terrain and boulders, until they actually found the deceased person, and by that time it was night and some of them kind of slipped and almost hurt themselves,” he said.
After examining the deceased hiker, Cardoza said detectives decided to leave the body at the foot of the cliffs overnight because of the terrain and poor visibility, but that some patrol units remained near the hiker to ensure the body wasn’t tampered with.
“We don’t have an exact area of where his body is or where it fell,” Cardoza said. "We had to leave the body there overnight because of the terrain, the weather [and other conditions]. They made the determination to wait, so they could successfully move him out of the area.”
Poor radio reception, among other things, has made it difficult for officers to locate the body, which they hope to recover this afternoon. Cardoza said deputies will document their findings, along with officials from the coroner's office who are also navigating through the terrain.
The hospitalized hiker, who is expected to survive, is lucky to have escaped the fall, Cardoza said.
"[He's lucky] not only to have survived the incident, but to find help and report it in time to get him to the hospital," Cardoza said. "If he had been in a state where he couldn't have physically walked out himself, the result could of been worse."