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Man arrested in rock-climbing marriage proposal: I did it for love

Cliff rescue in Morro Bay

Michael Banks is rescued on Thursday after being stranded on a ledge on Morro Rock.

(Bob Isenberg / Associated Press)

The man who made national headlines for having to be rescued from the cliffs of Morro Rock after proposing to his girlfriend said he’s not sure what all the fuss was about.

Michael Banks, 27, climbed the 600-foot Morro Rock early Thursday and asked his girlfriend, via the FaceTime app, to marry him.

In an interview with KEYT-TV, Banks explained that he climbed the rock to make a loving, dramatic statement to his girlfriend and was surprised by all the attention over his rescue.

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He said he’s an experienced climber and didn’t know the rock area was off-limits until authorities told him.

Explaining the marriage proposal, he told the station: “This rock is the rock I would love to put on your finger. If I could buy a diamond this size, I would because that’s what you are worth to me.”

She said yes, by the way, Morro Bay State Park ranger Dale Kinney told the San Luis Obispo Tribune, but what happened next nearly ended their brief engagement.

Banks took a different, steeper path down the Central Coast mountain’s eastern face and became stranded on a small ledge, Kinney told the newspaper.

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A California Highway Patrol helicopter flew to the scene about 8:30 a.m., and a treacherous rescue ensued, with the helicopter blades whipping close to the rock.

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Morro Bay Fire Chief Steve Knuckles told the Associated Press on Friday that Banks acted strangely and eventually was arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine. Banks told the station he was on medication for post-traumatic stress disorder, not meth.

Meanwhile, the California Highway Patrol has released a video showing Banks’ rescue from the rock cliff.

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno on Twitter.

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