Hot Weather Rescues

Emergency responders work to coordinate a Topanga Canyon rescue in 117-degree heat. Photo: Malibu Search and Rescue

Emergency crews from Los Angeles County Fire Department, sheriff’s deputies and Malibu Search and Rescue battled 107-degree heat on Sunday, July 6, to rescue a man injured after falling from a cliff in Topanga Canyon July 6.

Canyon residents who heard the sirens and helicopter activity or encountered the roadside rescue effort were concerned that it might mean a fire. However, on this occasion the sounds indicated a rescue in process.

The man, described as being in his 50s, suffered a compound leg fracture after falling into a deep ravine.

Malibu Search and Rescue reported that Fire Helicopter 12 lowered a medic down to the patient, who was able to stabilize the victim and prepare him for transport. Medic and victim were then hoisted to safety. the victim was transported to a local trauma center, according to the SAR announcement.

Emergency responders work to coordinate a Topanga Canyon rescue in 117-degree heat. Photo: Malibu Search and Rescue

First responders had a busy weekend throughout the Santa Monica Mountains and coast over the 4th of July holiday week. The Malibu Search and Rescue also rescued a 20-year-old woman, who broke her foot while cliff jumping at Malibu Creek State Park’s Rock Pool, and a 49-year-old Lancaster woman who was injured falling from the rocks at Escondido Falls in Escondido State Park. Both rescues also took place during dangerously hot conditions.

Emergency responders faced difficult rescue and retrieval situations during two over-the side vehicle incidents during the same time frame. The driver and passenger of a vehicle that went off the road on Stunt Road were successfully rescues with what were described as serious injuries. A 66 year-old driver who drove off the road in Malibu Canyon was pronounced dead at the scene, after her vehicle plunged nearly 500 feet into the ravine.

More information on the rescues and rescuers, as well as how to volunteer for or support the rescue program, and how not to become a SAR statistic can be found at


Suzanne Guldimann

Suzanne Guldimann is an author, artist, and musician who lives in Malibu and loves the Santa Monica Mountains. She has worked as a journalist reporting on local news and issues for more than a decade, and is the author of nine books of music for the harp. Suzanne's newest book, "Life in Malibu", explores local history and nature. She can be reached at

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