UPDATE: Hiker airlifted to safety from cliff at Vasquez Rocks

Vasquez Rocks, file photo.

A cliff rescue got underway shortly before 1:30 p.m. Monday after emergency response officials received word that a visitor to Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park had fallen down a ravine.

Firefighters with the Los Angeles County Fire Department responding to the call learned that hiker in need of help had not fallen but, instead, had become stranded on a “sheared cliff.”

Firefighters were dispatched four minutes earlier to the 10700 block of Escondido Canyon Road in Agua Dulce for reports that a person had fallen and needed to be rescued, an inspector with the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

“He’s about a thousand feet down. He’s uninjured, but he’s comfortable. But he was needing to be rescued,” the inspector said, responding to preliminary information that the hiker was a man.

Firefighters in a helicopter also managed to get to the hiker within 15 minutes of the call. By 2 p.m., the hiker had been airlifted to safety.

“A phone call came into the office at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area about a 22-year-old female rock climber stuck alone on a cliff ledge within the park,” Terry Kanakri, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Department of Parks & Recreation, told The Signal.

“Our staff responded to the area, but were unable to safely assist the climber and called the Fire Department for the rescue,” she said.

“The climber was on the back side of the main rocks, high on a ledge,” Kanakri said. “The Fire Department arrived at about 1:45 p.m. on the scene, and successfully airlifted the climber from the rock and she was safely brought to the parking area.”

No injuries were reported.

“The hiker got stuck on a sheared cliff about a thousand feet down,” Fire Department spokeswoman Vanessa Lozano said Monday.

“The crew of copter 15 affected the rescue, and safely placed her on the ground.

Kanakri had a warning for other people interested in hiking at Vasquez Rocks.

“We don’t encourage climbing in the park in an effort to protect the natural resources and ensure the safety of visitors,” she said.

Rocks at the popular hiking area were formed by rapid erosion during an uplifting of the ground about 25 million years ago and were later affected by movement of the San Andreas Fault.

The site is also a popular filming site since it was first scouted as a location by Universal Pictures in the 30s.  It has served as the backdrop for many films and TV shows including several episodes of Star Trek.


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