A Santa Barbara man is recovering after a daring, mountainside rescue. After combing the rough terrain, members of the Fresno County Sheriffs Search and Rescue team finally found him Saturday hanging on a ledge.
A hiker from Santa Barbara owes his life to some daring men on the ground and in the air. 64-year-old Lawrence Bishop clung to a narrow ledge for two and a half days while search and rescue crews combed the mountain.
Bishop was hurt after falling at least twice down Dog Tooth Peak, a granite mountain at an elevation of more than 10–thousand feet. Late Saturday, Bishop was spotted by the Fresno County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team. To get him out they would need the CHP's H-40. Jeff Andriese was the pilot on the rescue operation. "Mr. Bishop was in a spot we could get to him fairly easily with not too much risk."
Andriese says it takes teamwork when you're plucking a body off the side of a mountain. "While Officer Crane was guiding me over the victim, I was watching the gauges of the aircraft checking performance but also looking out my window making sure we had sufficient blade clearance."
Heroes in the air and heroes on the ground. Deputy David Rippe scaled the polished granite mountainside without a safety rope to get to the injured hiker. Search and Rescue team member Martin Wendels was also on the mountain Saturday. "It's always great when you find somebody and you're able to bring them home. This one was a little bit different. Everybody was kind of in awe. We just couldn't believe we found him where we did."
Pilot Jeff Andriese spoke with the injured hiker at the hospital. "He had almost given up. He thought he was either going to succumb to the elements, dehydration or falling. He said he could hardly hold on anymore."
Lawrence Bishop suffered many cuts and scrapes from his falls. But he'll probably never forget his e–ticket ride to safety, dangling from a harness and being reeled in by a helicopter.
The CHP helicopter assigned to Central California has flown 25 rescue missions this summer.
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