Nicholas Cendoya, age 19, spoke to the press after his release from the hospital following his ordeal on an Easter day hike. Cendoya and Kyndall Jack, his 18-year-old friend, decided to enjoy a day hike in a nearby forest when the pair of hikers got lost.
It was not until Wednesday that Cendoya was found by other hikers in close proximity to his vehicle. At the time of his rescue, Cendoya was in critical condition due to a lack of water and was incoherent. Despite his diminished physical and mental state, he says he never lost hope that he would be rescued.
Cendoya was stoic when he addressed the press outside Orange County Hospital. He said he immediately embraced the dire situation he was in and understood that the experience was meant to shape him into a better man. He also said that it was not his time to die, and those certainties gave him the courage to not be fearful.
“I didn’t cry. I didn’t fear it. I just embraced everything. I said `This is what I deserve,”‘ Cendoya said. “I just knew I would get through it. I knew this wasn’t my time to die. I knew that I needed this, to become the person that I’m supposed to be.”
Upon being discovered, Cendoya was airlifted to the hospital and was in critical condition making slow progress to recovery. He is now fine and grateful to those who helped him. One day after he was rescued, his friend was found on a steep ledge and is recovering from severe dehydration.