A mountain biker has been rescued following a fall that left him dangling hundreds of feet above the canyon floor on Mt. Wilson, California, last Thursday.
The unnamed rider fell around 40 feet from the trail and found himself hanging from the rock wall on his stomach with his head facing down. Two onlookers, including the rider's brother, were quickly on the scene and were able to lasso his ankle to hold him secure in that position until emergency services could be contacted. Thankfully, the fall happened on the south side of the mountain, facing the city of Los Angeles, where the phone signal is much better so rescue teams could be contacted immediately.
That wasn't the end of the event though, as when the rescue crew from the Los Angeles Sheriff Department's Special Enforcement Bureau (composed of former SWAT team officers with paramedic training) arrived they were worried the downwash from the helicopter would unseat the rider from his precarious position. The team described the rider as hanging on "like a cat" and explained that he was too scared to even rotate his head to look at them.
The L.A Times describes
how Daniel Aleman, one of the rescuers, was dropped off further down the trail then used both of the other mountain bikers to be his anchor for a rappel point. He asked them both to sit down and then tied a rope to them so he could reach the stranded rider and secure him to be airlifted to safety. Aleman found the man shaken but conscious. He later told reporters, "Thank God, he was OK. That made me feel better. He was just stuck — in a bad spot.”
Capt. Tom Giandomenico, later praised Aleman's quick thinking and courage. He said, "that’s one of the more significant, courageous maneuvers I’ve seen. Heroic, in my opinion.”
The rider's bike was later recovered from the bottom of the canyon. No serious injuries were reported from the incident.