BASS LAKE — A Labor Day vacation for a Southern California family turned into a dangerous rescue at Angel Falls in Bass Lake on Saturday. Angel Falls is a well-known destination along Willow Creek where many locals and visitors go to hike and play in the water.
The Madera Sheriff’s Office was notified about 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3, that a boy, 10, was unconscious after falling off a 30-foot cliff.
Sheriff’s Deputies and emergency personnel were immediately dispatched to the area, responding with their lights and siren.
Upon arrival, Sergeant Jacob Tallmon discovered the boy has fallen 30 feet down the granite rock face of a waterfall. The boy landed at the bottom of the waterfall and his family immediately tended to him and called 911.
Madera Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR), United States Forest Service Law Enforcement, CAL-FIRE and Sierra Ambulance all responded to the scene. The agencies worked together to package the boy up for extraction.
Sergeant Joseph Wilder identified two options to rescue the child. Option 1 was a “Hoist Rescue” using the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Helicopter “H-40.” Option 2 was a 50-foot technical rope rescue then a ½ mile carry out with a river crossing.
While preparing a rope rescue system, one of the Sheriff’s SAR volunteers received a minor injury. The volunteer was treated and released at the scene.
CHP H-40 hoisted the boy from the ground into the hovering helicopter and then transported him to Valley Children’s Hospital.
This is the second rescue from this location in six weeks.
“Residents should be extra cautious and be aware of their surroundings when near streams and rivers,” says Sheriff Varney. “Rocks are often slippery and when combined with swift water, anyone can easily be swept off their feet.”