BODEGA BAY — A 4-year-old boy suffered broken bones but survived falling more than 200 feet from a seaside cliff and landing on a rocky beach in Northern California, authorities and his family said.
The boy was throwing rocks Monday evening during a family outing on a trail in Bodega Bay north of San Francisco when he suddenly couldn’t be found.
His mother called for help. Bodega Bay Fire Department rescuers initially thought he had fallen into the water below but then spotted him on the beach at the bottom of the 230-foot cliff at Bodega Head, Capt. Justin Fox said.
As daylight faded, rescuers rappelled down with a basket to the boy, getting help from illumination flares fired into the air from a Coast Guard motor lifeboat. The boy was pulled back up in the basket as his family watched from the top of the cliff.
The boy’s father, Daryl Johnson, said that his son suffered a broken arm and leg and scratches to his face.
“It’s just sad to see him like that,” he said. “His eyes are swollen from the impact. I’m just worried for him.”
It was low tide, but if it had been high tide, the boy would have been harder to find, Fox said. The cliff poses problems because of its height and the rock’s tendency to crumble, he said.
“It’s a very challenging section of cliff as far as rescues go,” Fox said.
The rescue was the second in the area recently. A 23-year-old woman climbing in Bodega Head slipped and fell about 20 feet Saturday.
A helicopter rescued her from the beach, and she had moderate injuries.