A mountain biker who went over the side of a cliff wound up hanging upside down and clinging on for his life hundreds of feet off the ground while crews worked out how best to rescue him.
The biker, known only as ‘an older man,’ was biking in the Mt. Wilson area in the Angeles National Forest when the accident happened. Only a thin cord, tethered to his brother’s bike on the road 30-feet above him, helped him hang on.
“He was hanging on for dear life, “like a cat,” when rescue teams arrived…”
– Capt. Tom Giandomenico of the Sheriff’s Department’s special enforcement bureau
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s special enforcement bureau managed to pull off his rescue, but that wasn’t without its issues. A helicopter could not be used, as the downforce generated by the blades would have sent him plummeting to his death. There was also nothing solid to attach a rope to… no trees or boulders.
BREAKING -Mt bike rider falls over the side, dangles from side of cliff, Mt Wilson Toll Road, Angeles Forest. #LASD Air Rescue 5 inserts LASD SEB Tactical Medics nearby to rappel on rope down to victim. They secure victim and are hoisted in aircraft and flown to safety. pic.twitter.com/QbnzSQ6Y1q
— SEB (@SEBLASD) April 15, 2021
One of the responders asked the man’s brother and another friend with them to be his anchor. They sat on the ground with a rope tied around them while he rappeled down. The man, conscious but shaken, was then secured with a harness and the helicopter flew in to hoist him out to safety. A search and rescue team retrieved the man’s bike from below.
In more than twenty years with the SEB crew, one responder said:
“that’s one of the more significant, courageous maneuvers I’ve seen. Heroic, in my opinion.”