Cyclist clings to cliff upside-down ‘like a cat’ after plunge, California rescuers say

Don Sweeney
·2 min read

A mountain biker found himself in a terrifying situation Thursday after plunging off a cliff in the Angeles National Forest in Southern California.

Rescuers found him clinging “like a cat” to the sheer cliff, dangling head-first hundreds of feet above the ground, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We didn’t know he was face-down until we actually rolled up and saw him down below and we were like, ‘Oh, man, this guy is in a bad spot, a really, really bad spot,’” rescuer Deputy David Aleman told KNX Newsradio.

Only a thin cord looped around his ankle and held by his friends on the road 40 feet above kept the man from sliding to his death, KCBS reported.

“He knew he was in such a precarious situation,” Deputy Richard Thomsen of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told the station. “He was just scared to even rotate his head to look at us. He just didn’t want to move a muscle.”

Rescuers with the sheriff’s special enforcement bureau feared that helicopter turbulence could send the man plunging to his death if they tried to airlift him from his perch.

Instead, a rescuer rappelled down to the fallen cyclist, then carried him farther down the cliff to a more secure ledge for the airlift, KCBS reported.

“Thank God, he was OK,” Aleman, who made the rappel, told the Los Angeles Times. “That made me feel better. He was just stuck — in a bad spot.”

With no trees or boulders to secure his rappel line, Aleman had asked the bicyclist’s friends to loop the line around themselves to serve as an anchor, KNX Newsradio reported..

Capt. Tom Giandomenico called it “one of the more significant, courageous maneuvers I’ve seen,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team also recovered the man’s fallen mountain bicycle.

The accident took place on Mount Wilson Road, the sheriff’s special enforcement bureau reported on Twitter.

Rescued hiker faces investigation over where he was found, California officials say

‘Hero’ dad dies trying to save 1-year-old from arson fire, California officials say

Bloody pig’s head left at former California home of Chauvin trial expert, police say