Officials Rescue California Man Trapped In Cliff Crevasse

A California man was recently rescued from a cliff crevasse he fell into after planning to build a tunnel shelter.

The San Diego Fire Department (SDFD) said the unidentified man was rescued on Dec. 22, 2023, after an hours-long rescue operation.

The man had been building a tunnel shelter, which collapsed, leaving him stuck under rocks. Authorities were alerted of the incident when bystanders walked near the site and heard the man screaming, according to the New York Post. The man said he was trapped in a space barely 18 inches wide for multiple days.

“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,” the department said in a statement. “The location of this rescue is very treacherous for rescuers as well as the patient.”

The SDFD then dispatched rescuers during the operation, described as dangerous for the victim and the rescue team. Upon locating the man under a riprap tunnel, the operation had to be paused overnight because the tide rose. Throughout the night, SDFD said that the man had become unconscious on several occasions.

The life-saving mission resumed around 9 a.m. on Dec. 22, 2023, when a team of cave rescue specialists from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department volunteered to help the man. After pulling the man up, the team provided him with blankets, nutrition, and IV fluids, but not with food because the extent of his injuries was unknown.

The smallest first responders from San Diego and San Bernardino were lowered into the hole to drill and micro-blast the rocks surrounding the man.

“[The man] expressed that he felt relief as rescuers worked to remove the rocks from his legs,” the SDFD said.

The man was freed by 11 a.m. on Dec. 22, 2023. He was airlifted by a stokes basket to a nearby road, where he was transported on a stretcher and transported to the hospital.

The man appears to be in stable condition. Officials said he sustained injuries to his abdomen and legs and was dehydrated after being trapped for nearly 20 hours.