Man trapped in narrow cliff crevice for several days before being found

A man spent several days trapped inside a crevice on a cliffside after his plan to build a tunnel shelter failed, according to officials.

The unidentified man was rescued Friday morning following an hours-long rescue, the San Diego Fire Department in the US state of California said.

First responders rushed to the Sunset Cliffs area around 3.40pm on Thursday after receiving a report of a person trapped in a hole along the cliffside.

Two passers-by — who called 911 after hearing screams for help — found the trapped man pinned from the waist down inside a crevasse that was at most 18 inches in diameter.

“SDFD crews don’t know how long the man was in the hole but he told our crews he was there for a couple of days,” the department said in an alert.

“The location of this rescue is very treacherous for rescuers as well as the patient.”

The man was found underneath a riprap tunnel where he had tried to create a shelter, SDFD Battalion Chief Craig Newell said at a news conference.

While tunnelling, the man slipped and became wedged underneath the rock at the bottom of the tunnel, about 12-15 feet down in the hillside, according to Newell.

Rescuers tried to yank the man out, but the tide slowly began to rise, forcing them to suspend the mission overnight.

The team took turns standing watch over the hiker, who was covered with blankets, given an IV bag and fed Gatorade and hot packs.

The man slipped into unconsciousness several times throughout the night, the SDFD said.

The rescue mission resumed around 9am. Friday, when a team of volunteer cave rescue specialists from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department arrived to rip apart the concrete.

Two of the smallest first responders — one from San Diego, one from San Bernardino — were able to be lowered into the hole to drill small holes and set micro blasts to remove rock surrounding him, Fox 5 reported.

“[The man] expressed that he felt relief as rescuers worked to remove the rocks from his legs,” the SDFD said.

He was finally freed at 11am and flown via a stokes basket to the road, where he was transferred to a stretcher and rushed to the hospital.

Fortunately, the man is in stable condition. He is believed to have injuries to his abdomen and legs, and was dehydrated.

This story originally appeared on the NY Post and is reproduced here with permission.

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