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Tow Truck Driver Who Slipped Down Cliff Saved by Malibu Search and Rescue Team

The operation takes place on Mulholland Highway about a mile north of Pacific Coast Highway.

The Malibu Search and Rescue Team was busy again Friday night, this time saving a tow truck driver who had slipped down a cliff while trying to retrive a motorcylce that had gone over the edge.

Below is a part of a press release posted on the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Nixle alert website:

A late night call Friday to a tow company to retrieve a motorcycle over a cliff on Mulholland Hwy in Malibu resulted in a Sheriff's cliffside rescue of the tow truck driver.

The 2 1/2 hour rescue was the 75th rescue handled by the Malibu Search and Rescue Team of the Angeles County Sheriff’s Department so far in 2012.

At 9:30PM, the Malibu Search and Rescue (SAR) Team of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department arrived at the site about a mile north of Pacific Coast Highway.

They were called to the site to rescue a man who was clinging to the side of a cliff in the dark. He had gone down over the side of a cliff to retrieve a motorcycle that had been involved in an accident hours before.

In the earlier accident, a motorcycle rider had been thrown about 20-30 feet over the cliff but was able to make it to the top of Mulholland Hwy before rescuers arrived on scene. His motorcycle however was not so lucky, sliding hundreds of feet down the cliffside.

Two men from a tow company arrived later to retrieve the motorcycle in the dark. One of the men carried a cable over the cliff towards the motorcycle. When he was about 200 feet over the side he slipped on the unstable ground and slid freely past the motorcycle about another 50 feet.

Having lost hold of his cable and desperately hanging on to the soft dirt and bushes, the 36-year old Newbury Park resident needed to be secured by Sheriff’s Malibu SAR personnel into a harness and safely raised up the precarious cliff. The area is quite dark at night and even with the Sheriff's floodlights to illuminate the area it is still difficult to see (photos).

“It was a good thing we reached the man when we did," said Sheriff’s Malibu Search and Rescue Team Public Information Officer, Reserve Sergeant David Katz. "While he was tired and unharmed, our first rescuer to reach him reported that the man was clinging to the side of the cliff so tightly that the rescuer had difficulty wrapping the man in the rescue harness."

Katz went on to say “it turned out that the extreme darkness masked the sheer cliff just below the stranded man. With large rocks and boulders below, the man was very lucky to have not slid further or the result could have been tragic."

On Saturday, Malibu Patch reported that the Malibu Search and Rescue Team has already responded to 75 rescues in the Santa Monica Mountains and nearby beaches in 2012, up 10 percent from 68 over the same period last year. Read more:

Zuma Skipper July 29, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I have seen this dedicated unit in action several times in Malibu and they are a great group of heros. We are lucky to have them. Thanks Malibu SAR for your personal commitment to the job and the countless lives you've saved. All for $1.00 a year.
J. Flo July 29, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Zuma, you just took the words out of my typing . . . :) What an incredible gift to this city and our visitors this amazing group is! "Thank you" seems inadequate, maybe "Bless you", is closer.
Zuma and J. Flora, we truly appreciate your support of Malibu SAR's efforts. We also appreciate the Malibu Patch for keeping you informed of our activities. So far this weekend alone, we have had 4 rescue calls. This continues to be a record year after last year's record setting number of rescues. For more information, please "like" us on Facebook and visit www.malibusar.org.
Sara Gepp July 29, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Thanks to our local heroes! Be careful out there everyone...
Jessica E. Davis July 30, 2012 at 05:18 AM
I'm planning more coverage on the Malibu Search and Rescue in the coming months. They deserve all of our support for the work they do.

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