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Stranded hiker rescued from cliff face in Unalaska

  • Author: Laurel Andrews
  • Updated: September 30, 2016
  • Published January 4, 2016

A hiker was rescued after becoming stranded 100 feet up a cliff face Sunday evening in Unalaska, according to an account from the city's public safety officials.

The 27-year-old man was taking an impromptu day hike with a friend along Ulakta Drive, said Zac Schasteen, a fire chief in the Aleutian community, when he attempted to take a shortcut by descending the cliff face.

About one-fourth of the way down, the man became stuck.

He was "definitely not equipped for … descending a cliff," Schasteen said. The man was wearing Xtratuf rain boots and rain gear.

His friend, who decided against descending the cliff, continued walking along Ulakta Drive and made it to his boat, where he called for help at around 5:25 p.m.

When police and the Unalaska emergency medical responders arrived, the man was about 100 feet up the cliff face. He was sitting down, and facing out toward Ballyhoo Road below.

"He wasn't, like, holding on for dear life but he was in a very precarious spot," Schasteen said.

A firefighter rappelled down the cliff face, bringing with him an extra harness system and line. By 6:40 p.m., the stranded hiker was secured and the two men descended the cliff face together, according to Schasteen. They were safely on the ground just before 7 p.m.

The man was cold, but not hypothermic, and was otherwise uninjured, Schasteen said.

Unalaska is a community of around 4,400 residents in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. The town's Department of Public Safety has conducted other rescues from cliffs in the area, but this location was a first for them, Schasteen said.

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