A botched stunt on California’s famed Foresthill Bridge, the tallest in the state and third tallest in the United States, left a 19-year-old hanging on for dear life until he was saved in a rescue operation.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office reported that on the evening of September 18, deputies responded to an emergency call at the bridge, located northeast of Sacramento. Upon arrival, they discovered the teenager in a precarious situation, dangling by a rope from the underside of the bridge’s catwalk, approximately 700 feet in the air.
It was revealed that the teen and his 17-year-old friend had been attempting a dangerous stunt for a video, with the older participant swinging from the steel span.
Unfortunately, the stunt took a dangerous turn when the equipment supporting the 19-year-old malfunctioned, leaving him stranded and in need of immediate assistance.
“The 19-year-old became stuck, hanging approximately 30 feet from the underside of the catwalk when his equipment failed. His friend called 911 after they determined he was stuck and needed assistance,” the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
During the rescue operation, members of Cal Fire’s Technical Rescue Team joined forces with sheriff’s deputies and the PCSO’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Mountain Rescue Team to save the stranded teenager. More than two dozen first responders worked together to ensure the successful recovery of the young man.
Despite the ordeal, the teen was remarkably unharmed and declined medical attention on the scene. However, both individuals involved in the stunt, who have not been publicly identified, were cited for trespassing, a clear violation of the law.
Rising to a height of 730 feet above the North Fork American River in the Sierra Nevada foothills, the Foresthill Bridge is known for its breathtaking views and has been featured in several movies. It has long been a popular spot for thrill-seekers and visitors, drawing attention not only for its vistas but also for the numerous inscriptions left by visitors.
“As you walk across, read decades of homemade inscriptions made by passersby through the years, many of them a monument to past and present relationships,” the Placer County Visitor’s Bureau website stated.
The site also humorously added: “A fun fact for movie buffs: the bridge was used in 2002’s ‘xXx’ starring Vin Diesel. The film shows his character driving a stolen car off of the bridge and then jumping out of the car mid-air and parachuting down to the bottom of the American River Canyon! We don’t recommend trying this.”