VALLEJO (CBS13) – A Rio Linda man was rescued three days after falling 200 feet down a cliff in Vallejo.
“He was extremely grateful. He told me he went to hell and back and thought he was gonna die,” said Shaun Bouyea with the California Highway Patrol.
Twenty-one-year-old Aaron Clark’s mother took a picture of her son giving two thumbs up to the camera from a Bay Area hospital Wednesday night, thankful he’s alive.
“I’m grateful he was spared and has no life-threatening injuries. Knowing how strong he is and how he endured it all and survived, it’s a miracle,” said his mother Jodi Clark.
Clark was hiking the Bay Area trail in Vallejo Saturday afternoon when he stopped to look over the edge and slipped and fell.
“He fell almost vertical for most of the 200 feet. When he came towards the bottom, he tumbled multiple times,” said Kevin Brown with the Vallejo Fire Department.
He said the fall knocked him out and caused serious injuries.
“When he woke up it was getting dark, he crawled as far as he could but he was in pain, and so he hunkered by a rock and stayed there for 72 hours,” said Brown.
For three days Clark was out on the hillside by himself in the cold and in the rain, using his survival skills to stay alive.
“He had been there for days, and no one knew he was there,” said Bouyea.
But early Tuesday evening, two men on horseback at a nearby cattle ranch heard someone yelling for help.
“The guy was telling me ‘Help me, help me.’ I said, ‘I can’t see you, where are you?'” said Jose Bidreles.
Bidreles found Clark and called for help. He then made his way up the hill to be by his side until help arrived.
“We were able to land about 100 feet from the patient,” said Bouyea.
Vallejo firefighters drove a 4×4 up the mountain and hiked the rest of the way up to reach Clark. At the same time, a CHP helicopter that happened to be in the area also responded. They airlifted Clark to an area hospital in 19 minutes.
But first responders credit the men on horseback for their quick actions.
“Without them this individual wouldn’t have made it,” said Brown.
“He [told] me thank you, thank you so many times … I said no problem, it’s fine. I’m happy I found him” said Bidreles.
Bidreles has a 22-year-old son himself and was happy to be able to save Clark when he did.
As for Clark, it was a fall that almost took his life that has now made him 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 worse,” said Jodi.
Clark’s mother says he’s in good spirits, he just got of out of surgery Wednesday. He has a fractured femur, partially collapsed lung, and dislocated knee, but is expected to make a full recovery.