California rescue workers made a dramatic save from the air of a man clinging to a steep cliff over the sea on Friday.
The man, who officials said was homeless, hiked to a frightening height on a cliff near China Beach in the northern end of San Francisco and apparently became paralyzed with fear. Surfers saw the hiker clinging to the sheer rock face and called 911, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Fire rescue crews were unable to safely reach him from the ground, so a helicopter team from the California Highway Patrol dropped a rescuer, who strapped him into a harness and they were both airlifted to safety.
The chopper set down on a helipad and the hiker — in sweatpants, a T-shirt, and sneakers — stepped off into a parking lot. He can be seen on the ABC-7 News video gesticulating. The man walked away with minor bruises after refusing medical attention, according to the Fire Department.
Fire officials didn’t reveal his identity, nor any details about how he found himself clinging to a cliff.
Hikers often get stranded on the steep hills edging the sea in San Francisco and Marin County, according to local authorities. Some become frozen with fear at the thought of how high up they are. Others are reportedly forced to scramble up sheer rocks as the Pacific tide comes in, stranding them where it’s impossible to climb out.