A 67-year-old man is dead after falling 500 feet from the Thornton State Beach in Dale City, California. According to CBS SF-Bay Area, just shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Monday, the man — whose name has not been released to the public — was walking his dog when the animal got away from him and became stranded on a ledge.
The National Park Service officials confirmed that the dog, a shepherd mix, had made his way down a cliff, west of Skyline Drive. Just as the man was approaching his dog, he slipped and fell 500 feet.
The emergency medical crew rushed to Thornton State Beach, a popular area for walking dogs and family hangouts, in an effort to save the man, but it was too late. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Images of the scene captured the moment the victim’s dog was pacing back and forth where the body was found, as if it was able to sense something was wrong with the owner.
California Highway Patrol helicopter retrieved the man’s body from the area and touched down in an adjacent parking lot, where the San Mateo County Coroner’s van was waiting to transport the body to the Office of the Medical Examiner.
After the man fell 500 feet to his death, Park Service officials began sending out warnings. If your dog is stranded, you are urged not to attempt to rescue the animal on your own. Often times the animal will be able to survive and make it to safety, whereas the owner may not be so fortunate.
Although there are no leash laws, it was advised that people put their animals on a leash for safety purposes while walking at the Thornton State Beach because the area can be dangerous.
Tedd Leblanc, of Daly City, who was in the area hiking with friends, stated that “sometimes things can move around. You have to be careful. Always be on alert because rocks can tumble.”
“Stay on the trails, especially I mean the ice plants will be slippery with the moisture,” said Rath Skallion. “That’s why I can see someone slipping on the edge.”
According to Fox 2 KTVU, after the incident, Dale City authorities alerted the family, who then traveled to the Thornton State Beach to retrieve the dog.
Authorities did not release information on the dog’s condition, but it was reported that emergency medical services were able to help the dog get to safety.