LOS GATOS (CBS SF) — A homeless man who fell off a 10-foot cliff on the shore of the Guadalupe Reservoir was rescued early Thursday thanks to the quick thinking of a group of South Bay students home for the holidays from college.
Authorities said the man — a transient — apparently fell while setting up camp for the night and went about 10 feet down a rock face, suffering a broken lower leg and various cuts and bruises.
He was able to reach his flashlight and began flashing it, hoping to draw anyone’s attention. But he was across the reservoir from the road and cars were quickly passing by on Hicks Road.
It was then that Sam Miller, Vedad Gerin and their friends happened to see the light. Instead of just continuing on, they stopped.
“We see a light flashing, so we agreed to pull over and get out of the car,” Miller said. “We hear a guy moaning, he was in pain.”
The group quickly called 911 and began yelling across the reservoir to the man.
“He said he been out here for 2-3 hours,” Gerin said.
Santa Clara County Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Sadler said the man was lucky the young people saw him.
“He was lucky that he was spotted by some kids driving by,” Sadler said. “He was flashing his (flash) light across the way and they happened to see it. We would have never known he was there…He was probably 150 yards away from the roadway and they were driving by at 35 mph. He’s incredibly lucky to be found.”
Crews used a wheeled Stokes basket to rescue the man and bring him up to Hicks Road where he was loaded into an ambulance. He was taken to a hospital and was expected to survive.