Menifee Man Dies in Hiking Accident in Temecula Preserve

The following is a news release from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department regarding the death Monday of a Menifee man in a hiking accident:

On Monday Jan. 21, 2013 at 3:36 p.m., officers from the Temecula Police Department responded to the area of Camino Potro and Camino Estribo near the Ecological Preserve area within the City of Temecula, on a report of a hiking accident. The reporting party stated that five adult male hikers had entered the area and traveled along the creek. During the hike, his friend had been killed by a falling boulder.

Temecula officers responded to the area and contacted four hikers at the entrance to the Ecological Preserve. One of the hikers led Cal Fire Personnel and the officers into the canyon, and after 30 minutes of hiking, they located the victim. The victim was identified as Nicholas Lovato, 23 years of age, from Menifee.

The investigation revealed the five hikers had entered the Ecological Preserve and hiked along the creek until they became fatigued and decided to rest next to a body of water. A few of the hikers began to climb a 200-foot, sheer-faced rock cliff adjacent to the body of water.

Three of the hikers were seated on a large rock outcropping approximately 30 feet above the body of water when they heard the rock begin to crack. The rock gave way, sending the victim to the ground below. The boulder broke free and subsequently fell and struck the victim. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Due to the remote location and treacherous terrain, the Riverside County Sheriff's Aviation Bureau and the Coroner's Bureau utilized a Sheriff's helicopter in order to recover the victim's remains.

No rescue personnel were injured during the incident.


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