Hiker Who Clung to Calif. Cliff for Nearly an Hour Before Being Saved Speaks Out: 'My Muscles Were Tired'

Cody Cretini told ABC News he was on a walk with his girlfriend when he opted to take a shortcut that required him to climb a cliff and subsequently fell

  • Cody Cretini, the hiker who was rescued from a large cliff in California, is expressing his gratitude for the helicopter crew that saved him from his precarious position

  • The 22-year-old told ABC News he was on a walk with his girlfriend on Easter Sunday when he took a shortcut that led to his fall

  • Both the hiker and his rescuer said they were worried about him letting go of the cliff before he could be pulled to safety

The hiker who was rescued via helicopter from a large cliff in California on Easter Sunday is speaking out for the first time.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office released footage Monday of the harrowing helicopter rescue, which took place near Battery Alexander trail in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The crew sprang into action after learning a man had fallen about 50 to 60 feet down the cliff “and was clinging to the gravel rock face” when help was requested.

Cody Cretini, 22, told ABC News he was on a walk with his girlfriend when he opted to take a shortcut that required him to climb a cliff. About 40 or 50 feet up the cliff, Cretini said rocks started crumbling beneath him.

Suddenly, Cretini found himself clinging to the cliff while only about 50 feet above the ocean.

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Cretini said his girlfriend rushed to get him help after watching him fall. He clung to the cliff for nearly an hour before help finally arrived.

“My muscles were tired. I was cramping,” Cretini explained. “I knew if I’d fallen, that it wasn’t going to be good.”

Footage of the rescue shows the helicopter crew first honing in on the victim using the aircraft’s thermal imaging camera.

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However, the scariest part for Cretini was when the helicopter arrived. He told ABC News he was afraid the wind from the aircraft would cause him to fall off.

Deputy Sheriff Larry Matelli — the rescuer in the video who helped pull Cretini to safety — was also concerned for Cretini as he approached the man on the cliff.

“My fear is that he was going to let go. And I realized as soon as he did, he was going to start sliding,” Matelli said. “So I was giving him clear instructions.”

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In the footage released by the SCSO, Matelli can be seen approaching a barefoot Cretini and yelling “Don’t let go man!” as he places the man into a rescue device.

Matelli and Cretini were then flown to the top of the cliff, as seen in the clip. Fire personnel medically evaluated Cretini after he landed, according to the SCSO.

Cretini told ABC News he is thankful for the crew who rescued him. "The helicopter and the person who grabbed me and saved me, don't know where I'd be without them."

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