Hiker Rescued After 100-Foot Fall into Ravine in California

A hiker was hospitalized Monday after she fell 100 feet or more into a ravine, authorities said.

The victim fell in rugged terrain that can be treacherous, said a nearby resident, who fell during an incident in 2003.

Monday's victim, 49, slipped and fell 100 to 120 feet into a creek bed, according to Battalion Chief Boyd Clegg of the San Ramon Valley Fire District.

A total of 12 firefighters, including paramedics and a technical rescue unit, responded to the 10:10 a.m. call at Highland Drive and Sky Terrace.

The rescue, which required ropes and pulleys, was complete by 11:28 a.m.

"They got her out, packaged her up, and away she went," said Onie Banuelos, a retired telecommunications worker who suffered several broken bones when she fell about 100 feet down a ravine on her Highland Drive property in March 2003.

Monday's victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries, was in satisfactory condition and was expected to remain overnight at San Ramon Regional Medical Center, said hospital spokeswoman Sandra Ryan. Neither she nor her husband, who found her and called for help, was identified.

The woman's husband reportedly found her in the ravine after she failed to return from a hike.

"If you're down there and nobody knows you're down there, it can be a horrific situation," Banuelos said. "When those situations happen, you're in a state of shock. I was lucky to make it out with the injuries I had.

The ravine can be as deep as 300 feet and is near the San Damiano Retreat Center, a conference space and guest facility run by the Franciscans at the top of the hill on Highland Drive, which is a private road maintained by residents of the area's 32 homes.

Banuelos, who fell in 2003 while walking on a trail accompanied by her husband, Robert Washburn, tumbled about 100 feet. San Ramon Valley Fire District personnel extracted Banuelos much like the victim Monday: using a backboard to stabilize her body and lines to pull her out of the ravine.

Distributed by the Associated Press

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