Bystanders grabbed ropes and helped firefighters hoist a trapped surfer to safety this weekend during a dramatic clifftop rescue on the 6700 block of Del Playa Dr.
Pinned by high tide against rocks below a park between 6747 and 6757 DP, a 21-year-old female surfer awaited rescue at 11:30 a.m. Saturday after her 20-year-old female companion managed to climb a beach access and summon help. While a team of rescuers deployed jet skis from Campus Point, other firefighters anchored a rope and pulley system to a telephone pole on the street above and called for onlookers to help pull.
Bill Hinds, on-scene Santa Barbara County Fire Dept. battalion chief, said the waves broke one of the girls’ surfboards in half before they became trapped on the rocks.
“One was able to come up on her own, but the other one got scared and couldn’t move,” Hinds said.
While firefighters worked to secure ropes to pull the 21-year-old from her perch, Hinds said rescuers used jet skis to evacuate a 20-year-old man who had climbed down to calm the trapped woman.
Using an axe, a firefighter hacked through a small wood fence and some brush at the cliff’s edge to clear a path for rescuers to hoist the trapped surfer. Rescuers below signaled via radio for personnel above to start pulling.
Half a dozen onlookers, some clad in sandals and board shorts, began towing the line – visibly straining with firefighters and police. Members of the Sheriff’s Dept. search and rescue team arrived as the bystanders pulled the trapped woman over the edge to safety.
The woman walked with paramedics to a gurney while several dozen other witnesses applauded the rescuers’ efforts. A Fire Dept. spokesman did not identify the three people rescued but said the two surfers were transported to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital and treated for superficial injuries.
Drawn by the noise of sirens, several of the deputized onlookers said they were happy to be of assistance.
Ian Soleimani, a third-year sociology and communication double major at UCSB, said he left his house at 6693 DP to see what was happening and found himself first in line behind a firefighter, helping to pull.
“We heard sirens and came down to see what was up,” Soleimani said. “Next thing we know, the firefighters are asking for more muscle.”
Chris Veitch, a fourth-year law and society major at UCSB who also helped pull, said the number of sirens he heard told him the Fire Dept. was responding to more than “just a couch fire.” “We just wanted to come by and do as much as possible,” Veitch said. “When you see something like that, it’s not like you’re not going to help out.”
UCSB student Dan Tran and Santa Barbara City College students Chris Scroggins, Jed August and Sean Behm also helped firefighters pull the rescue line.
“Hopefully, good karma will come around to us and to everyone else out here who helped out,” Soleimani said.
Heya! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the outstanding work!