San Diego Man Distracted By His Cell Phone Plummets To Death From Sunset Cliffs

A San Diego man, reportedly in his 30s, fell to his death in the strangest of ways after he walked off a cliff because he was “distracted by his electronic device,” according to officials.

San Diego Fire spokesman Lee Swanson said that the incident occurred at about 4:50 p.m. on Christmas Day in the 900 block of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard when a man, reportedly unaware of his surroundings as he was absorbed looking into his cell phone, walked off Sunset Cliffs and fell 60 feet to his death. Local lifeguards immediately rushed to the scene of the accident, and despite the unidentified man receiving CPR from them, he was pronounced dead on the scene, said San Diego lifeguard Bill Bender.

“They acted quickly, they found a way to get down the cliff. They put themselves at jeopardy… They administered CPR to the person in attempt to save a life.”

Photos of local officials attempting to rescue the San Diego man have since been uploaded on social media.


The San Diego fire department later also confirmed that the man was distracted by “an electronic device.” Speaking to KNSD-TV, Bender said the man did not watch where he was going because he was paying attention to his cell phone.

“Witnesses stated seeing someone distracted by an electronic device and he just fell over the edge. [The man] wasn’t watching where he was walking, he was looking down at the device in his hands.”

Although the details of what the man was doing at Sunset Cliffs remain unclear, authorities speculated that he was there to watch the sunset. There were several witnesses at the scene, and some of them confirmed that the San Diego man was “looking at his cellphone or a camera screen when the man walked off the cliff.” One witness said the man was crossing in his car when he got down to take a picture from his device.

“I have seen a lot of the same things where people are just not careful,” witness Debbie Smith told CBS. “I got scared. It just breaks my heart. I fear for my grand kids. I can’t imagine what [the San Diego man’s] parents might be going through.”

Another tourist warned such an accident can happen with anyone these days.

“Don’t think it cannot happen to you. It only takes a split second.”


According to NBC 7, a teen who lives across the street from the cliff rushed to help the San Diego man, but could not reach before the man fell.

“A bunch of people were screaming, yelling,” the teen said. “The man was yelling ‘help me.'”

In the aftermath of the incident, authorities warned people to be more aware of their surroundings.

“Just like driving and using a cell phone, you don’t want to be walking and using a cell phone or be distracted or anything.”

The Sunset cliffs are known for their uneven terrain and for containing some of the most difficult trails of the area, forcing authorities to install several sign-boards warning tourists of the same, but early reports suggest the victim did not heed the sign-boards. Due to the uneven nature of the cliffs, the area has seen several deaths in the last decade alone.

The death of the San Diego man will serve as a stern reminder to those who are often caught unawares while being engrossed by their electronic devices. It is perhaps time we took our attention away from electronic devices and gained cognizance of the surroundings we live in.

[Photo via Pexels]