California man survives a 75-foot plunge from mountain tramway area

A California man miraculously survived a 75-foot fall from a mountainous area at the top of a tramway system with only minor injuries.


The unidentified man fell from the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which transports visitors 2.5 miles across the Sonoran Desert to the top of the Mt. San Jacinto summit, about 8,500 ft. above the desert. He climbed over the guardrail this weekend and slipped, the Los Angeles Times reported.


An employee at a restaurant atop the Mt. San Jacinto summit noticed the man climbing over a railing on Saturday, Feb. 12, just before he slipped on hard ice, fell, and landed in an inaccessible area, according to Greg Purdy, vice president of marketing and public affairs at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.


Emergency officials received a call around 5:30 p.m. about a person going over the side of the cliff, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.


A helicopter from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department was requested, but because of the icy conditions, it could not assist in the rescue efforts. Instead, firefighters responded to the scene with ropes and riggings and rappelled down to the man’s location.


He was lifted in a Stokes basket — a stretcher used in emergency situations to lift patients vertically from steep terrain. The man had minor injuries but declined any additional medical care, Riverside County Fire spokesperson April Newman said.


It was not clear why he climbed over the railing.


“Our first priority is not the how it happened, but how a patient is doing during our rescue,” Newman said.