Firefighters rescue three

Firefighters rappelled down a cliff to rescue three people trapped between the cove and the incoming tide Wednesday night at Tablerock Beach in South Laguna.

Laguna Beach firefighters received a medical emergency call at 8:55 p.m. from Ti Amo Ristorante.

Firefighters found a woman and two men in their early 20s, according to Deputy Fire Chief Jeff LaTendresse.

The three adults were trapped at the bottom of a steep cliff.


“When we got there and saw them, we saw that swimming was not an option and we saw that climbing down the cliff was not an option,” LaTendresse said. “We extended a ladder to a high point and used it as a rappelling type [of mechanism] to help carry people up in a metal stretcher basket.”

The ladder was extended from a fire engine on Seacliff Drive. Firefighters used the top of the ladder as a fulcrum to hang a metal stretcher basket. Three firefighters rappelled down the cliff, which was estimated as 75 to 100 feet high. Lifeguards from Laguna Beach Rescue and United States Ocean Rescue assisted.

LaTendresse said rescuers strapped each adult in the metal stretcher and raised each person in the basket with ropes hanging down from the top of the ladder. All three suffered injuries not considered life-threatening.

“They mostly had problems related to being in the water in the cold,” LaTendresse said. “Two of them were transported to Mission Hospital. One refused treatment. All three are in stable condition.”