A 26-year-old rock climber from Palo Alto, California fell over 30 feet while climbing a large rock face in the Yosemite National Park on Sunday. The rock climber's name has not been released, but officials say that he suffered severe injuries and had to be rescued by helicopter.
The fall could have been much worse, but the man landed on a rock bench that was around 1,000 feet from the ground. If he had not been caught by the rock bench, he would have fallen the entire distance to the ground and would not have survived.
Although the man was injured badly during the fall, he was conscious when rescue workers arrived to help him. He was in so much pain that he could not move and they had to call in a helicopter to transport him from the park and to the hospital. He is currently in stable condition.
“He was wide awake, he gave me a thumbs up and he was OK,” said Officer Andrea Brown, of the California Highway Patrol’s Air Operations Division, who helped rescue the climber.
The man was climbing the Higher Cathedral Spire on the south end of the valley with three of his friends when he fell. One helicopter flew him to the floor of the park and a second flew him to the hospital.
"He had a pretty decent ledge that he landed on, but there was a lot of vertical rock around him, which made it incredibly difficulty to fly in," said CHP officer and paramedic Andrea Brown, who helped with the helicopter rescue.
"He had a significant back trauma and was unable to walk," she added.
The incident marked the second time in two weeks that someone had to be rescued via helicopter. Last week a female hiker had to be rescued after she hurt her back while hiking Tenaya Creek on the front side of Half Dome. She had not fallen, but was unable to walk. She was flown to safety and sent to the hospital.
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