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Alaska Beat

Anchorage's Maria Pestrikoff falls off 60-foot cliff while texting and smoking

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published September 27, 2012

A law on the books in Alaska outlaws texting and driving. Fortunately for one Anchorage woman, it's not yet illegal to walk off a cliff whilst text messaging.

Last Monday, Maria Pestrikoff fell 60 feet down a rocky beach cliff on Kodiak Island, in the northern Gulf of Alaska, while texting on her cellphone. According to the Kodiak Daily Mirror [subscription required], Pestrikoff was walking toward the steep drop to toss a cigarette butt while attempting to send a message when she slipped on wet grass:

A friend heard her screams from the rocks below and called for help.

Rescue crews had to act quickly when they arrived:

By the time the Kodiak Fire Department got to [Maria] Pestrikoff, the tide was coming in. Rescuers had to act quickly - she was only about 10 feet from the water's edge.

"The incoming tide was a factor to consider with regard to expediting the patient's lift and removal from the beach so as to not introduce cold water hypothermia as another factor influencing her injuries," [Fire Chief Rome] Kamai said.

Rescuers reportedly rappelled down the cliff and hauled Pestrikoff up in a stretcher to a waiting ambulance.

Pestrikoff is recovering at a hospital in Anchorage.

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