One Fell Off the Cliff. The Other 3 Followed

And one man was killed in California tragedy
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2022 2:31 AM CDT
One Fell Off the Cliff. The Other 3 Followed
Small waves crash into the beach surrounded by cliffs in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., Monday, May 23, 2022.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(Newser) – Four friends went to the cliffs of southern California's Palos Verdes on Sunday night to hike and hang out, and only three made it back home. When one woman had to go to the bathroom in the dark and was trying to find a place to do so outside, she ended up slipping and falling down the cliff, according to the mother of one of the survivors. Her three friends sat at the edge of the cliff looking for her, she tells NBC Los Angeles—and then the rest of them fell, too. ABC 7 puts the length of the fall at 300 feet. The mother says her son noticed his male friend had lost consciousness in the fall, and ran to get help, but didn't realize until later that the man had been killed.

It took hours for the friend, who had to climb a steep embankment, to find help—the incident was reported to police at 4:30am Monday—and ultimately an airlift rescue had to be carried out for the group, Fox 11 reports. Officials on Monday identified the man killed as Jerardo Huitzil, 25. His three friends were all hospitalized with injuries, but were in stable condition. Locals say the cliffs are dangerous due to their lack of guardrails, loose and slippery rocks and dirt, and tree roots that can easily trip a person, especially in the dark. (Read more California stories.)

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