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Hikers missing for 5 days in California mountains found safe

The pair went missing Saturday while hiking in the snowy San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles.

Two Southern California hikers who had been lost for nearly five days were found safe late Wednesday, officials said.

A search team discovered two sets of footprints in Cucamonga Canyon, south of Mount Baldy, and followed them in the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles, the San Bernadino County Sheriff's Department said in a news release.

A helicopter team searching over the area then spotted two people who the crew believed could be missing hikers Gabrielle Wallace, 31, of Rancho Cucamonga, and Eric Desplinter, 33, of Chino Hills. Their identities were later confirmed.

The pair went missing Saturday while hiking in the snowy mountains. They vanished as they made their way toward the 8,860-foot Cucamonga Peak near Mount Baldy.

Eric Desplinter and Gabrielle Wallace vanished on Saturday.San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department / AP

Desplinter was described as an experienced hiker, and the two were said to be carrying proper equipment for the icy conditions.

The San Bernadino Sheriff’s Department noted that search teams covered more than 30 square miles looking for the pair and that agencies from across the region aided in the search.

"Volunteers are a real blessing to our agencies, providing thousands of hours giving back to make our communities better and stronger," Sheriff John McMahon said in a statement. "This is a perfect example of their commitment."

Associated Press, Joe Studley and Kurt Chirbas contributed.