California hikers won't have to pay rescue costs

California hikers won't have to pay rescue costs
Kyndall Jack talks about her ordeal during a news conference outside UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif., Monday, April 8, 2013. (AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Joshua Sudock)
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - Two hikers lost for days in the Southern California wilderness won't be charged the $160,000 it took to find them.

The Orange County Register reports county supervisors made that decision in closed session on Tuesday.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Shawn Nelson tells City News Service he thinks there's no legal way to force the hikers to reimburse their rescue costs - even though one is charged with a drug crime.

Nineteen-year-old Nicolas Cendoya and 18-year-old Kyndall Jack were rescued from the Cleveland National Forest last month after spending several days there without food or much water.

The two went missing on March 31 after wandering off a trail during what they thought would be a short day hike. The pair had picked the hike on the popular Holy Jim Trail almost at random after deciding they wanted to climb to a mountaintop to "touch the clouds," Jack said at a brief news conference after they were rescued.

Authorities say methamphetamine was later found in Cendoya's car. He's been charged with felony possession and could get up to three years in prison if convicted.