A California man was saved in San Diego on Friday. The man had fallen from a crevasse he had carved into the side of a cliff and became pinned under the rocks.
After falling, the man was trapped from the waist down in a 12 to 18-inch hole. After a rescue operation that lasted several hours, the man was eventually airlifted to a nearby hospital. During the rescue attempt, rising tides prevented rescuers from working, and the operation was temporarily paused.
The man, who had been trapped for days, was constructing a tunnel shelter when the rocks gave way and collapsed. After the shelter collapsed, rocks pinned the man against the cliff, and he couldn’t escape. The man told rescuers that he had been stuck in a space barely 18 inches wide.
A man who slipped on the side of a San Diego cliff and became trapped under broken concrete has been freed following a "treacherous" hourslong rescue. https://t.co/lHbDEbXEXf pic.twitter.com/XB4tDLKfv8
— ABC News (@ABC) December 23, 2023
At approximately 3:40 p.m. on Thursday, two teenagers walking near Orchard Street and Cable Street heard a man shouting for help from the cliffside. They dialed 911, and the San Diego Fire Department (SDFD) immediately rushed to the scene.
The SDFD initiated a comprehensive operation that was hazardous for both the victim and the rescue team. After locating the man under a riprap tunnel, rescuers realized they would not be able to continue their rescue operation until the tide fell. The rising tide mandated an overnight pause, and the SDFD resumed work in the early morning hours.
During the break, the team supplied the man with blankets, IV fluids and food to keep him as comfortable as they could.
The fire department released a statement saying, “SDFD crews don’t know how long the man was in the hole, but he told our crews he was there for a couple of days.”
According to the New York Post, volunteer cave rescue specialists arrived on Friday morning and descended into the crevasse. They proceeded to drill and set off micro blasts to free the man from the rocks. After hours of working, they eventually made enough space to retrieve the trapped man.
Rescuers reported that the man fluctuated in and out of consciousness during the ordeal. By 11 a.m. on Friday, he was airlifted to safety and promptly taken to a hospital.
Despite experiencing dehydration and injuries to his abdomen and legs, officials confirmed he was in stable condition after being trapped for nearly 20 hours.