MORRO BAY (CBSLA.com/AP) — A man who was rescued when he climbed a California cliff to propose to his girlfriend via cellphone video later was acting erratically and was found to be high on methamphetamine, authorities said Friday.
Morro Bay Fire Chief Steve Knuckles said that 27-year-old Michael Banks was arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine.
Banks, who is an Army Veteran, said the drugs were prescribed to him.
Banks had previously climbed to the top of the cliff early Thursday to propose and got stuck on the way down. He got into trouble when he “took a different trail down, much steeper” and became stranded, said Capt. Todd Gailey.
“He couldn’t go any direction, on a sheer ledge, with his feet dangling 80 feet off the ground,” Gailey said.
Rescuers called in a helicopter, and a crew member descended by cable to hoist Banks from the narrow ledge.
Banks was calm for most of the ordeal, but “a little unnerved” at that part, Gailey said. He was not hurt.
Morro Rock is a 600-foot landmark just offshore from the community of Morro Bay. Climbing is banned, but some go anyway, and there have been several fatal falls over the years. Banks will be charged for the chopper ride.
Banks said nothing during the rescue about any second thoughts on his choice of setting for the proposal, Gailey said. His girlfriend reportedly said, “yes,” to the proposal.
Still, the fire captain said others should consider proposing from a place “where you’re not in danger of falling off a cliff.”
Banks disputed the notion that he needed to be rescued.
“I shouted out to the fireman. I said, ‘Is there a problem?’ Banks told Santa Barbara ABC affiliate KYET. “I made it all the way to the top of that rock without ropes and that far down to the bottom 50 to 100 feet, what makes anyone think I might not have made it the last 100 feet?”
About 4 p.m. Thursday Banks was arrested when witnesses reported he was acting erratically.
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