Stranded climber dies from injuries

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. — A man who apparently slipped and fell while rappelling down a sheer cliff behind a vineyard south of San Diego Zoo Safari Park Thursday died before emergency crews could rescue him.

The victim was climbing down the several-hundred-foot rock face off the 16100 block of Highland Valley Road in the San Pasqual area about 3:30 p.m., when the accident occurred, according to Cal Fire.

The man wound up unconscious and suspended by his ropes roughly 50 feet from the top of the precipice, said Thomas Shoots, a fire captain with the state agency.

After assessing the hazardous situation, emergency crews decided to use a sheriff’s helicopter to lower a rescuer down to the unresponsive man and get him into a harness.

While the aircraft hovered over the cliff, the personnel hoisted the victim aboard, then flew him to a ground ambulance parked nearby on the grounds of the winery. There, medics tried in vain to revive him before pronouncing him dead at the scene.

The victim, whose identity was not immediately available, was apparently climbing down the cliff to change a battery in a camera mounted there to capture images of wildlife, according to Shoots.

It was unclear who owns the equipment and what the victim’s capacity was in relation to it, the spokesman said.

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