A California man died Monday after plunging from an ocean cliff south of San Francisco while trying to save his dog.
The unidentified 67-year-old was hiking with his dog shortly before noon above Thornton State Beach in Daly City when the animal went over the edge and became stranded on a ledge. As his owner began making his way down to help the dog, a shepherd mix, the man slipped and fell about 500 feet, National Park Service officials said.
The dog owner was in grave condition when firefighters reached him, and he died of his injuries at the scene, according to a statement from the California Highway Patrol.
His body was airlifted by a CHP helicopter. The dog, who watched from a cliff ledge as rescuers transported his owner’s body to the helicopter, was finally coaxed to safety by the dead man’s son, who had been called to the scene, reported Fox2 News. The dog was uninjured.
The National Park Service warned that people should not attempt to save their dogs from cliffs or the surf. Dogs often survive dangerous situations while humans may not. Hikers were also warned to stay on trails.
Thornton Beach and the nearby Palisades Park are popular with hikers and dog walkers, but the area can be dangerous — particularly in cold and windy conditions, like the weather Monday.