PACIFICA, Calif. (KTVU) - Three hikers, including two teenagers, spent over 13 hours on a Pacifica cliff between Friday night and Saturday morning awaiting rescue, officials said.
Two technical rescue units and three chief officers responded to the incident and assisted with recovering two 13 year old girls and a 22-year-old male at 10:30 a.m. Saturday near Blackburn Terrace and Kent Road. A California Highway Patrol Helicopter carried the hikers out in a basket called a "Billy Pugh."
They were taken one-by-one over the water and then safely released on the sand. "It's pretty amazing. I don't think our first responders get nearly enough credit," said Todd Schecter, the father of one of the hikers.
Schecter and other worried family members watched as his 13-year-old daughter, her 13-year-old friend, and an older cousin in his 20's - were airlifted to safety.
"They just went out for a late hike, and you know, I guess the tide came in and they had to go to higher ground to get past that and just got stranded on the cliff," said Schecter.
The saga began around 9:30 p.m. Friday when the three got stuck roughly 700 feet down a steep cliff, said North County Fire Authority. The Coast Guard sent a helicopter, but high winds and darkness prevented a successful rescue. The hikers were forced to spend the night on the cliff.
"The helicopter attempted rescue numerous times but was deterred because of wind conditions. And there was also low visibility," said Klaus Zalinskis with the North County Fire Authority.
By Saturday morning, rescue teams from several local agencies were prepared to rappel down to the hikers, who were about 700 feet down. But the CHP's helicopter unit arrived and successfully rescued the hikers in a matter of minutes.
All three hikers were evaluated by paramedics at the scene and no injuries were reported. Firefighters want to remind people to stay on designated hiking trails and to avoid taking risks in the outdoors.