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Squirrel hunter dies in Mendocino National Forest fall

A Sacramento man who headed out to the Mendocino National Forest for a day of squirrel hunting was found dead Thursday afternoon after he apparently lost his footing and fell into a rocky ravine, Lake County emergency and law enforcement personnel said.

Cha Vang, 45, had driven to the area with relatives, including a brother, who dropped him off early Thursday morning in rugged country near the south edge of the national forest, with plans to meet up several hours later, emergency responders said.

But Vang didn't turn up at the rendezvous point as expected, authorities said. Though there's no cellphone reception in the area, members of the party had hand-held radios, but Vang didn't respond, authorities said.

Family members spent several hours looking for him before locating him 80 or 100 feet down a rocky ravine near the old Bartlett Springs resort, about 40 feet off Bartlett Springs Road, Deputy Northshore Fire Chief Pat Brown said.

Cal Fire personnel at the station in nearby Leesville were notified, and a rescue operation quickly mobilized, including three aircraft and heavy rescue crews from Cal Fire and the Northshore Fire Protection District.

Emergency responders arriving as dark descended found Vang dead, authorities said.

Rescue crews had to climb down in to recover his body, Brown said.

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