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A group of 10 teenage hikers who spent Friday night lost on the trails of a Southern California canyon before a search-and-rescue team found them with the help of an iPhone feature «were not prepared» to climb, according to the authorities.

The members of the group, who were between the ages of 16 and 18, spent about three hours on May 12 stuck on the trails of Santa Paula Canyon, located in the Los Padres National Forest, without proper hiking clothing, water, and lighting equipment. before being rescued. Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Mackenzie Spears told NBC News.

«Most were in T-shirts and shorts,» Spears said in a text message. She added that temperatures were in the 60s and «there were multiple water crossings and they needed scrambling,» or climbing steep terrain by hand, on certain sections of the hike.

In a news release prepared for the sheriff’s office, Spears said that «most hikers were not prepared» and that the search and rescue team provided them with food, water and equipment to light their way back.

The teens contacted the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office around 8 p.m. Friday when they got lost on the trails, according to the sheriff’s office news release.

The group contacted emergency officials using Apple’s Emergency SOS feature, which allows iPhone users to call or text local emergency services, sometimes even without cell service or Wi-Fi access. Fi. That feature allowed them to share their possible location and conditions with emergency personnel, according to the sheriff’s office, adding that the teens’ parents also reported the hikers missing.

Hikers are helped to return to safety in Santa Paula Canyon, California on May 12, 2023. Ventura County Sheriff’s Office

More than a dozen members of the Upper Ojai Search and Rescue TeamA group of local volunteers went out to look for the hikers within 30 minutes of receiving their request for help, the sheriff’s office said.

After a roughly three-hour, four-mile hike into the canyon that included «low visibility, multiple creek crossings, and trails that had previously been damaged by heavy rain,» the rescue team found the missing teens on call Route «Last Chance» around 11:15 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office.

Hikers and the search and rescue team returned to the Santa Paula Canyon trailhead around 2:40 a.m. Saturday, according to the sheriff’s office.

in a tweetThe search and rescue team said the teens were the «largest group we’ve rescued in a long time.» None of the hikers required medical attention, the sheriff’s office said.

The search and rescue team recommends that hikers and campers always bring essential including navigation and light sources, first aid supplies, food and water, and a smartphone. They too recommend hikers fill a hiking plan detailing where they plan to travel and what equipment they plan to take with them and leave with someone not accompanying them on the trek in case of an emergency.

More than half of the 990 deaths that occurred in national parks between 2014 and 2016, the most recent years for which data is available, were due to unintended causes, according to the National Park Service. Drownings, car accidents and falls were the leading causes of those deaths, according to the parks agency.

joseph cradduck contributed.