Kitesurfer stranded in California rescued after writing ‘HELP’ with rocks

Kitesurfer stranded in California rescued after writing ‘HELP’ with rocks

The man was trapped on a narrow strip of sand: towering cliffs on one side and crashing waves on the other. Fortunately, he came up with a proven way to indicate that he needed to be rescued: spelling “HELP” on the beach using rocks he found there.

The man, a kitesurfer who became stranded when he encountered challenging weather while practicing the sport, was rescued from a remote beach in central California after a private helicopter detected his distress signal, the Department of Forestry and Conservation said. California Fire Rescue.

The pilot alerted emergency responders, who airlifted the castaway from the beach south of Davenport Landing in Santa Cruz County, Cal Fire said Sunday in social media posts.

The man was trapped due to “decent-sized surf” and windless areas, as the weather was unpredictable and “changed very, very quickly,” fire Capt. Skylar Merritt of the San Mateo-Santa unit said. Cal Fire Cross. to the Los Angeles Times.

A stranded kitesurfer was rescued from a beach in central California on June 9, after he used rocks to spell “HELP.” (Video: CAL FIRE CZU San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit via Facebook)

“The surfer did not need medical attention,” only help to get off the beach, the San Mateo-Santa Cruz unit wrote in X.

Merritt told the Los Angeles Times that the man was only stuck on the beach for a few hours and was not suffering from hypothermia or dehydration, common risks for anyone who ends up stranded in remote areas without access to shelter, food or water.

A rescue team consisting of firefighters from California and Santa Cruz counties and California state parks crews worked together to extract the man. Videos of the operation posted by Cal Fire on social media show rescuers being lowered to the beach from a helicopter and hooking up the man, before being hoisted by the helicopter to the cliff, where firefighters appeared to be waiting for him.

The rescue mission was “quick” and “went well,” Merritt said. But he said the man should have told his family or friends where he was, according to NBC Bay Area. The man was “definitely lucky” that the helicopter pilot noticed him, Merritt said, according to NBC.

Spelling out “HELP” or “SOS” to attract the attention of passing planes and ships is a trick commonly used by castaways to call for help. The National Park Service recommends that anyone stranded in the wilderness try to send some type of signal to the outside world three times in a row (the “universal distress call”), such as sending a beam of light using a mirror or other reflective object. . .