Man survives fall off cliff, 3 days on mountain

Posted at 7:47 AM, Nov 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-16 07:47:21-05

VALLEJO, CA (KMAX/KOVR/CNN) - Aaron Clark's mother took a picture of her 21-year-old son giving two thumbs up in a hospital Wednesday night, thankful he's alive.

Aaron Clark was hiking the Bay Area Trail on Saturday afternoon when he stopped to look over the edge of a cliff, slipped and fell. The fall knocked him out and caused serious injuries.

"I'm grateful he was spared and has no life-threatening injuries," said his mother, Jodi Clark. "Knowing how strong he is and how he endured it all, it's amazing to me."

"He fell almost vertical, for the majority of the 200 feet. When he came towards the bottom, he tumbled multiple times and struck his head," a fire department official said. "When he awoke, it was getting dark. He crawled as far as he could, couldn't bear the pain and hunkered by a few rocks."

For three days, he was out on a hillside by himself in the cold and the rain, using his survival skills to stay alive. No one knew he was there.

Early Tuesday evening, two men on horseback at a nearby cattle ranch heard someone yelling for help.

"The guy tells me, 'Help me, help me.' I said, 'I can't see you, where are you?'" said Jose Bidreles, who found Aaron Clark and called for help. Not only that, he stayed with him until they arrived.

"He tells me, 'Thank you very much,' many times. I said, 'No problem, it's fine,'" Bidreles said.

"We were able to land about 100 feet from the patient," said Shaun Bouyea, a flight officer.

Vallejo firefighters hiked up the mountain and a California Highway Patrol helicopter airlifted Clark to an area hospital, but first responders credit the men on horseback for their quick actions.

"Without them, this individual wouldn't have made it," a firefighter said.

A fall that almost took his life has made Aaron Clark and his family that much more thankful.

"I can't thank them enough. If it wasn't for all their efforts, this could have ended a lot different," Jodi Clark said.

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