SALT LAKE CITY — Authorities say a 23-year-old man clung precariously to a rocky cliff 200-feet above ground for two hours before somebody finally heard his cries for help early Friday.
A gas station worker heard the man yelling at about 2 a.m. and called 911. That set off a rescue by firefighters who climbed above the man and repelled down to get him safely off the cliff, said Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman Jason Asay. A spotlight helped them find him during the overnight operation.
The man, whose name authorities are not releasing because he has not been charged with any crime, told firefighters he decided to go on a night hike at about 9 p.m. Thursday. It's unclear how exactly he got himself stuck on the cliff. He had his feet in a secure spot and his hands grasping some rocks above.
"He was hanging tight. He was in a tough spot," Asay said. "It was pretty much 200 feet straight down."
The area was steep and rocky, and dangerous even for trained professionals, said fire department rescuer John Knowlton.
It was not far from Salt Lake City — about one mile northwest of the Utah State Capitol. The gas station where the employee heard his cries is just across the street from the rock quarry.
Asay said they don't believe the man was drinking or using drugs.
"He just told us that he wanted to go hiking at night," Asay said.
Authorities believe he started on a trail but veered off onto private property owned by a rock quarry company. Asay said the company will have to decide whether to pursue trespassing charges against the man. Calls to the company by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.
The man didn't suffer any serious injuries, emerging unscathed from the scary experience, Asay said.
"He was grateful that we helped him down," Asay said.