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Sheriff's department 'moved as fast as we could' in cliff rescue

September 30, 2011 | 10:41 pm

 

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Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials said Friday night they did all they could to find a 67-year-old man who drove off a cliffin the Angeles National Forest and spent a harrowing six days eating bugs and leaves to survive.

The man was found Thursday night by his family after they formed a search team, tracked him down and rescued him, 200 feet down the rocky mountainside.

"We admire the family and we're so glad they did what they did," said Capt. Mike Parker, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department. "We did everything humanly possible to locate him. We moved as fast and as much as we could, within the limitations."

David La Vau's son, Sean, said the family filed a missing person's report Wednesday, five days after his father vanished. He said they were told by the sheriff's office that processing the report could take a few days.

"We didn't have time to wait," he said. "So we took action."

Parker said investigators moved quickly on the case after the report was filed. He said they worked hand-in-hand with the family to search La Vau's credit card and cellphone records. They provided La Vau's relatives with a tip pinpointing the area where he last used his cellphone.

Using that information, the family set off to search for him. They found the father of six off Lake Hughes Road, where La Vau said his car plummeted off the road after the high beams of an oncoming car blinded him.

Parker said the investigators meanwhile had launched their own search for La Vau, advising authorities to look for his car and license plate. But he said they did not search the cliff sides.

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-- Esmeralda Bermudez

Photo: Family and friends celebrate with David La Vau at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia.

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