A Labor Day vacation for a Southern California family turned into a dangerous rescue at Angel Falls in Bass Lake Saturday.
The Madera Sheriff’s Office was notified about 11:15 a.m. that a 10-year-old-boy was unconscious after falling off a 30-foot cliff. Sheriff’s Deputies and emergency responders were immediately dispatched to the area and responded with their lights and siren.
Upon arrival, Sergeant Jacob Tallmon discovered the boy fell 30 feet down the granite rock face of a waterfall. The boy landed at the bottom of the waterfall and his family immediately tended to him and called 911.
Madera Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR), United States Forest Service Law Enforcement, Cal Fire and Sierra Ambulance all responded to the scene. The agencies worked together to rescue the boy as quickly as possible.
Sergeant Joseph Wilder identified two options to rescue the child. Option one was a “Hoist Rescue” using the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Helicopter “H-40.” Option two was a 50-foot technical rope rescue, followed by a half mile carry-out with a river crossing.
While preparing a rope rescue system, one of the SAR volunteers received a minor injury. The volunteer was treated and released at the scene.
Incident Command elected to go with a “Hoist Rescue” utilizing CHP H-40 due to injuries to the child and the risk to rescuers at scene during a carry out.
CHP H-40 hoisted the boy from the ground into the hovering helicopter and then transported him to Valley Children’s Hospital.
As of Sunday morning the youngster had been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
This is the second rescue from this location in the past six weeks.
“People should be extra cautious and be aware of their surroundings when near streams and rivers,” said Sheriff Jay Varney. “ Rocks are often slippery and when combined with swift water, anyone can easily be swept off their feet.”
Angel Falls is a well-known destination along Willow Creek where many area and visitors go to hike and play in the water.
NOTE: Additional photos of the rescue can be downloaded from: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/kl93n6577p87rur/AABAAE3_ZccQH58TK8YqD74Xa?dl=0
Madera County Sheriff’s Office