A rescue team found Arcadia resident Michael San Miguel, 70, dead after finally reaching him 300 feet down a ravine north of Altadena, the county's coroner's office said.
San Miguel, a Southern California Edison subcontractor, was studying the environmental impact of running power lines in the area when he fell down the ravine Wednesday evening, Sgt. Debra Herman with the La Crescenta Valley sheriff's station said. He was working with Pasadena-based Bon Terra for the Renewable Transmission Project, Edison spokesperson Vanessa McGrady said.
"The whole birding community is devastated," Elaine Macpherson of the Pasadena Audubon Society said.
Macpherson said San Miguel was a pillar of the society, always willing to share his knowledge and lead field trips.
The accident was first reported Wednesday about 8 p.m. in the forest near Angeles Crest Highway and Mt. Wilson Red Box Road, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Robert Diaz said.
It took Montrose Search and Rescue and deputies four hours to hike down the steep terrain to San Miguel, Herman said.
"The team did not return till 5:30 a.m. on Thursday," Herman said. Search and Rescue retrieved San Miguel's body and brought it up the ravine, where Homicide Bureau officials and the county coroner were waiting to begin an investigation.
"Search and Rescue isamazingly trained," Herman said. "They were the only team who could do this type of rescue."
Sheriff's and fire officials were unable to hoist the man out of the forest by helicopter because of overhead power lines, Diaz said.
Homicide is continuing its investigation to determine San Miguel's injuries and cause of death, county Homicide Bureau officials said.
San Miguel is survived by his wife, Gayle; children, Michael and Lisa; daughter-in-law, Laurie; and grandchildren, Alex and Jake.