Coast Guard rescues man from the side of a 200-foot cliff in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico

7th Coast Guard District News
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of a Coast Guard helicopter, working with local emergency responders and Puerto Rico Police, combined efforts to rescue a man Sunday night from the side of a 200-foot shore-side cliff in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico.

Rescued is Pedro Rodríguez-Batista, 40, a resident of Quebradillas, who reportedly fell approximately 225-feet and was able to hold on to the side of the cliff before reaching the water.

“Hoisting the survivor from a narrow ledge on a 200-foot cliff, while rain squalls passed by was very difficult,” said Lt. Ryan Angelo, Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen aircraft commander. “It would not have been possible without the tremendous team effort between Puerto Rico Police, Emergency Management responders, Emergency Medical Services personnel and the Coast Guard. I am extremely happy to hear that the survivor is recovering at the hospital.”

Rodríguez-Batista was able to contact emergency response authorities using his cell phone.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a 911 call at approximately 7 p.m. Sunday from an operator, who reported that emergency response agencies were on scene with a fall victim and were requesting aerial support to extract him from the unaccesible location.

Coast Guard Watchstanders diverted an Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter to the scene. The Coast Guard helicopter crew arrived on scene and deployed their rescue swimmer to assist the survivor.

State and municipal emergency responders from Camuy, Arecibo, Quebradillas, and Isabela, Puerto Rico, were able to make their way down the jagged cliff and assist the Coast Guard rescue swimmer with preparing Rodríguez-Batista for a vertical hoist by placing him on a backboard, installing a cervical collar and securing the patient to the helicopter’s litter, while working from a two-foot ledge, approximately 75-feet from the bottom.

The crew of a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action helicopter also responded and assisted the rescue efforts by illuminating the scene with the helicopter’s spot light.

The Coast Guard aircrew hoisted Rodriguez-Batista and the rescue swimmer onboard and transferred the patient in stable condition to awaiting Emergency Medical Services personnel at the top of the cliff. The patient was transported to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Aguadilla to receive further medical care.

“This rescue was an excellent example of interagency cooperation and I’m extremely proud of all those who responded,” said Cmdr. James Sutton, Sector San Juan chief of response. “The support and on-scene assessments provided by local emergency responders definitely assisted the Coast Guard aircrew with their execution of this highly dangerous evolution. We wish the Mr. Rodríguez-Batista a prompt and safe recovery.”

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