Boy survives long fall down California oceanside cliff

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 11, 2014 2:51 PM

(Reuters) - A 4-year-old boy on a family hike on California's scenic northern coast fell 230 feet (70 meters) down an oceanside cliff but managed to survive and was conscious when rescuers reached him on the rocky shore below, a fire official said on Tuesday.

After the fall off the scenic promontory on Monday at Bodega Head State Park, two paramedics were lowered in a metal basket by ropes and found the boy crying, suffering bone fractures and major injuries, Bodega Bay firefighter Lou Stoerzinger said.

Rescuers were relieved when they found the boy alive, he said.

"It felt pretty good, it's one we can put in the win column," Stoerzinger said. "There's a lot of factors that go into working rescues and yesterday luck was definitely on our side."

It was unclear if the child bounced along the steep cliff face of limestone and sandstone or if he fell through the air during the whole drop, but there were no tree branches to break his fall, he said.

An airlift helicopter was unable to land in the area, about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of San Francisco, because of poor weather and bad visibility, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. So the boy was taken to a local hospital by ambulance, it said.

The child was later transferred to Children's Hospital Oakland, where he was listed in serious condition on Tuesday, said Kevin Kimbrough, a spokesman for the facility.

Stoerzinger said he did not know where the boy's family is from. A representative from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office could not be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Sandra Maler and Eric Beech)