A UC Santa Cruz student spent his holiday weekend in the hospital after falling off a cliff on Del Playa Drive on Saturday night.
Twenty-year-old Nico Macias stepped over a balcony railing on the 6500 block of DP to urinate while at a party Saturday night. As Macias was walking along the edge of the cliff, he rolled his ankle, slipped, tumbled down the cliff face and landed on the beach, witnesses said.
Isla Vista Foot Patrol officers found Macias lying flat on his back in a pile of rocks. The officers said Macias was conscious and able to move his extremities upon their arrival. Macias suffered a severe fracture to his right arm from the fall.
Residents of the apartment complex said Macias had gotten drunk at their party and did not know anyone who lives there.
“When I first heard about it, I thought it was a joke,” junior biology major Robert Burrus said. “Then we looked over the side and saw him lying in the rocks. It wasn’t too funny.”
A group of Macias’ friends were also at the party but were too intoxicated to provide any information about him.
“He stepped over the rail to take a piss and just kept on going,” said Clifton Awuy, a senior sociology major and resident of the complex. “When I first saw him he was moving his arms and legs, so we knew he didn’t have a broken neck or anything too serious. He got real lucky.”
Macias smelled strongly of alcohol and admitted to drinking eight beers. He was stabilized on the beach and transported by ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Macias went through surgery to repair the fracture and was released from the hospital on Monday.
In September of 2001, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance requiring oceanfront DP homes to install fences on ground-level balconies and patios. The ordinance mandates fences to be at least three feet high.
The board of supervisors took action after a number of deaths and injuries related to falls off DP cliffs, although every person injured had intentionally climbed over a fence before falling.
Jeffrey Cronin, 20, broke both femurs and suffered a head injury in a November 2001 fall from a cliff at 6599 DP. In March 2001, 20-year-old SBCC student Clint McDonnell was killed in a fall from 6681 DP, and in May 2001, 20-year-old SBCC student Timothy Baptista died of injuries sustained in a 40-foot fall at 6507 DP.