Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Rescuers Save Man Clinging to Fort Bragg Cliffside as the Pacific Seethed Below

The rescuer from the Fort Bragg Fire Department secured the patient preparing to ascend the cliffside [Photograph posted on the Fort Bragg Police Department Facebook Page]

Yesterday afternoon, the bluffs of Fort Bragg reminded another visitor of the risks inherent in the alluring landscape when a man lost his footing along the cliffside and tumbled down the steep slope coming to rest mid-way down the rockface as the Pacific churned below.

Fort Bragg Fire Department Chief Steve Orsi told us his team rigged up the equipment necessary to perform a high-angle rescue allowing personnel to descend the bluff in a controlled manner and successfully retrieve the man who was uninjured.

Chief Orsi did not know the exact details of how the man came to fall down the Fort Bragg cliffside yesterday, but he did tell us the fall occurred after the man strayed from the established trail. The edge of these cliffs, Chief Orsi explained, are unstable and can unpredictably give way when trod upon by a sightseer. He emphasized the importance of adhering to marked trails and the risk inherent along the rim of the bluffs.

Chief Orsi said his crew regularly trains their high-angle rope rescue skills, an essential technique in keeping emergency personnel safe when navigating vertical or nearly vertical slopes. Multi-story buildings are often an effective training environment for the rescue system, according to Chief Orsi, but they fail to capture the rugged, roughly-hewn nature of the Mendocino Coast’s cliffsides.

High-angle rope rescue techniques utilize ropes, anchors, and rappel systems to stabilize rescuers as they ascend and descend steep slopes. Chief Orsi told us yesterday’s rescue system was anchored on one of the fire department’s trucks parked above.

Countless Mendocino County residents rely on the swift action of our volunteer fire departments during fires, medical emergencies, traffic accidents, and more. They do that work with minimal funding. To support the essential work of the many volunteers that work with the Fort Bragg Police Department, send a check to 141 N Main Street-Fort Bragg, Ca  95437.

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  1. Cap on backwards, strayed from the trail, duh — uhh public services come rescue me (wish they could send him a bill too).

    Top marks for our brave rescue crews, thank them when you see them.

  2. My name is Wayland I was the man that was saved that day I won’t to thank my family and my dad for putting a rope around my waist. And I won’t to thank the fire department the police department for risking their life to save me I will always be in debt to all them it wasn’t for my Dad’s quick thinking to put a rape around me to keep me from falling down the cliff so the fire department can find me so they know where I was at and they put their life at risk to help me get up the bluff. If it wasn’t for my Dad’s quick thinking talking me through it I might have just kept falling down the hill into the ocean so I recommend everybody to be careful and watch their step again thank you dad fire department police department and everybody else involved for safe with me I was the man they saved on.9-21-22

  3. I would also think my wife and my Mom for talking to me on my phone to make sure I was doing okay because they cannot get to me where I was at the only way they knew where I was at was a yellow rope that was tied to me that my dad put around my waist to keep me from falling into the ocean as my dad says crab food laugh out loud the we’re by my side while I was down to bluff waiting for the fire department to come rescue me and they still were there while I was being rescued so I want to thank everybody that was involved in rescuing me. On 9-21-22 and yes I am home with my wife and my mom and dad safe thanks to the my wife my mom my dad and the fire department to let me be home and not in the ocean

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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