Hiker falls 1,500 feet to his death while trying to rescue friend

He's being remembered as a hero.

<iframe width=”620″ height=”340″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/QlG0h1VVJnw” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe> Daniel Nguyen is being remembered for his bravery after falling more than 1,500 feet to his death Tuesday while trying to rescue another hiker on a rugged Southern California trail.

Nguyen, 23, an avid hiker from Garden Grove, was in the Devil's Backbone area in Mount Baldy, in the San Gabriel Mountains. He was trying to help a friend who was struggling near the cliff's edge when he tumbled over the edge.


Daniel Nguyen was an avid hiker and hoped to join the Peace Corps. Photo: Courtesy of the Nguyen family

“The investigator let his father know he died a hero … pulling a friend who was slipping and thus plunged to his death,” reads a statement from Nguyen's family, on a GoFundMe page dedicated to providing family assistance.

“What a tragic loss of a great young man who was smart, sincere, funny, caring, with good morals, and a superb human being.”

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office was notified of the incident at 7:40 a.m. Aerial crews located Nguyen at 9 a.m.


Daniel Nguyen was a recent graduate of California State University, Long Beach. Photo: Courtesy of the Nguyen family

Strong winds hampered the aerial deployment of ground crews, however, and they did not reach Nguyen until about 5 p.m.

“The weather definitely puts restrictions on aviation's ability to be in an area and get down to a subject like that, and that's exactly what they were facing [Tuesday],” Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Jodie Miller told the Long Beach Post.

Nguyen was a recent California State University, Long Beach graduate with a degree in kinesiology, the Post reported.

ABC News reported that Nguyen had hoped to join the Peace Corps in the federal Emergency Management Agency.

The family is hoping to raise $20,000 via the GoFundMe page to pay for Nguyen's burial and service. As of Thursday morning, $12,385 had been raised.

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