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Search continues for missing hikers in Joshua Tree National Park

Video: Today marks one week since...

JOSHUA TREE, Calif. - Search & Rescue crews said they will continue to search for the missing hikers at Joshua Tree National Park as no evidence has shown up since they were last heard from on Wednesday, August 2.

The San Bernadino County Sheriff's Department has now left the search effort, but Joshua Tree Search & Rescue crews are continuing to search for Rachel Nguyen, 20, and Joseph Orbeso, 21. The pair waslast heard from by a ping of Orbeso's cell phone that came from inside Joshua Tree National Park at about 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 3.

Last week Search & Rescue crews said they had shifted from search and rescue efforts to search and recovery. 

Drones were used Sunday by Grand Canyon Search & Rescue. Joshua Tree officials thanked them for their assistance. KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 will deliver updates as the search for the missing hikers from Orange County continues. 

Couple missing one week today (8/2/17)

Today marks one week since anyone has heard from missing hikers, 20-year-old Rachel Nguyen and 21-year-old Joseph Orbeso from Orange County

Their last tracks were on Maze Loop, a hike trail in Joshua Tree National Park. Park rangers are calling it a mysterious disappearance. 

In earlier reports, the two were known as "experienced hikers", but today George Land, the community outreach ranger, says otherwise. 

"They had the physical ability to do a reasonable hike, however if they got in trouble out there or whatever, there's nothing that leads us to believe that they have some of the skills that they might need to survive out there," Land said.

It's a missing person's case making it's way around the globe. One visitor from Paris says she's taking extra caution.

"My aunt sent me an article about the missing couple yesterday, and initially we planned to camp here, but with the weather conditions and everything we thought we might just do a day hike and be a bit more cautious and go back to the hotel," said Katharina Maier from Paris.

Meanwhile, Land tells us family of Nguyen and Orbeso have been standing by.

"They're obviously distraught. They're worried. They want their loved ones home, as you or I would. The families have let us do our job. They're very understanding of the search process," Land said.

Search and Rescue crews at Joshua Tree National Park are now in the process of shifting to search and recovery efforts regarding the missing pair of hikers from the L.A. area, according to Park Ranger George Land.


Read: Search for missing hikers continues at Joshua Tree National Park 

Rachel Nguyen, 20, and Joseph Orbeso, also in his early 20's, were last heard from by a ping of Orbeso's cell that came from inside Joshua Tree National Park at about 4 p.m. on Thursday. 

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While rescue crews are hoping to find the hikers still alive, air crews are expected to be surveying the area Wednesday afternoon and evening due to incoming weather, Land told KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 Wednesday morning. 

Special Report: How to avoid and prepare for dangerous hiking trails in the Coachella Valley 

Rescue teams also have dogs searching the area to try and pick up a scent from the missing hikers. Because of this, park rangers said they have blocked off the area where the search is being conducted so the dogs won't get confused by the scent of other people. 

One dog helping with the search had to be carried off the trail Wednesday afternoon after its paws became overheated on the hiking trail at Joshua Tree National Park. 


KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 will continue to track the progress of the search for the missing hikers. We'll deliver updates as soon as they're available. 

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