FORESTHILL (CBS13) – A BASE jumper stuck in a tree under the Foresthill Bridge was hoisted to safety by a Placer County Sheriff’s helicopter in a dangerous rescue overnight.
Deputies say the man, Nicholas Frey, 34, of Squaw Valley, jumped off the bridge at night about 10:45 but never made it to the ground some 700 feet below because his parachute snagged a tree. He was stuck dangling 60 feet in the air for about an hour before being plucked to safety by a rescuer suspended from the helicopter.
Frey had a cellphone with him and called 911.
Both CalFire and the Placer County Sheriff’s Department say this was the one of toughest rescues they’ve ever been involved in.
“It’s a dark canyon at night, which it has its own inherent problems. In addition to that you’ve got an individual who is precariously hung in a tree,” said CalFire Battalion Chief Jim Mathias. “You don’t know how secure he is and the roto-wash from the helicopter displacing the air itself in conjunction with that air meeting with the parachute makes it a very difficult rescue.”
Once he was rescued, Frey was quickly put in a patrol car and taken to jail for violating the county ordinance prohibiting jumping from the bridge.
“When our rescue specialist goes down from the helicopter, he is on a line, and it’s a very technical rescue, so it’s definitely putting other peoples’ lives at risk,” said sheriff’s Lt. Mark Reed.
Frey was booked into the Placer County Jail and bailed himself out Thursday afternoon.
He declined to comment when questioned by CBS13’s Ben Sosenko as Frey left the jail.