Marriage proposal gets off to rocky start with Morro Bay cliff rescue

Cliff rescue in Morro Bay

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

(Bob Isenberg / Associated Press)

It was certainly a rockier marriage proposal than most.

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

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

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


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.

Morro Bay fire Capt. Todd Gailey said he was lowered via cable to snatch Banks and lift him to safety, the Associated Press reported.

Throughout, Banks appeared calm but also “a little unnerved,” Gailey told the news service. 

Banks was issued a misdemeanor citation for trespassing and he’s expected to be billed for the helicopter ride, according to local news station KCOY-TV.


For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno.


Wild police pursuit in rain includes ‘doughnuts’ on the 101, hugs and a TMZ tour bus

Social workers charged with child abuse in case involving torture and killing of Gabriel Fernandez, 8

LAPD’s first ‘volunteer citizen patrol’ to hit San Fernando Valley streets to battle property crime

Get our Essential California newsletter