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Rescuers fail to find missing boys, but save two others

Two volunteers searched a canyon for three missing boys who went camping without their parents' permission.

But as they yelled out the boys' names, they heard an unexpected response: a woman's cry for help.

At the bottom of a ravine late Monday, Chris Maxwell saw Jennifer Stanton, 21, of La Quinta.

She and Jennifer Maese, 22, of Palm Springs had been hiking Sunday when they tumbled 150 feet off a ledge.

Stanton set out for help. With a leg injury, she didn't get very far.

But she was able to direct Maxwell and John Hathaway to Maese a half-mile away. Maese, who had hypothermia, was evacuated by helicopter.

Rescuing Stanton wasn't as easy.

Maxwell rappelled down the cliff and tied a rope around her. A rescue crew began pulling them up. But a knot snagged on the rocks, and Maxwell and Stanton were left dangling.

As the knot was worked free, the two slammed into the cliff wall and the rope pulled several rescuers over the edge. Luckily, however, safety lines kept the rescuers from dropping.

Finally, the crew pulled Maxwell and Stanton to safety. Stanton and Maese remained in serious condition at Desert Hospital Wednesday.

But what happened to the boys, ages 11, 12 and 13? Maxwell and Hathaway learned later that the three had found their own way home Monday.