ALTADENA (CBS) — Rescue crews say a 25-year-old woman is “lucky to be alive” after she lost her footing and plunged 100 feet down a cliff at Eaton Canyon Monday.
Firefighters and a sheriff’s search-and-rescue team were called to the lower waterfalls of Eaton Canyon at 6 p.m., said Battalion Chief Ron Lavarria, of the L.A. County Fire Department.
Wilder Rees told CBS2 that he and his 25-year-old girlfriend were hiking, exploring the two waterfalls, when trouble struck.
“We heard that there was a second waterfall, a little bit higher up you have to hike up to. And we went up, it was great,” Rees said.
“When we were coming down, the trail isn’t really distinct, it’s hard to figure out how to get down and we went the wrong way…but just went with it and she slipped and fell,” Rees said.
The woman slid down the cliff for about 75 feet and then went into a free fall for the last 25 feet.
Wilder said he scrambled down as quickly as he could and found his girlfriend conscious.
“She landed on flat ground between two boulders. If she had hit the boulders, it would have been very bad,” L.A. County Fire Capt. Mark Savage said. “As it is, she’s lucky to be alive.”
A rescue helicopter arrived and hoisted the woman to a hospital, with moderate injuries, Savage said
“We have rescues, three or four a month, at this location,” Lavarria said.
Fire officials told CBS2 this rescue was a typical scene for them. Sixty hikers had to be rescued in the past year and two died. They urge visitors to stay on the trails and not be fooled by the canyon’s beauty. The Angeles National Forest has the 3rd steepest terrain in the nation.
“Majority of the time, everybody comes out and they’re just not prepared. They don’t have the right footing, bring water bottles, they’re unprepared for the weather and terrain,” Lavarria said.