Rocky Romance: Helicopter Saves Man Who Scaled Cliff To Propose To His Girlfriend

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As marriage proposals go, Michael Banks’ was a cliff-hanger. Banks, 27, scaled 600-foot Morro Rock just off California’s Central Coast early Thursday morning to propose to his girlfriend, who was watching via FaceTime video. The good news: Banks’ girlfriend said yes, according to Morro Bay fire Capt. Todd Gailey.

The bad news: Banks got stuck, and had to be plucked by helicopter for a tricky, post-proposal flight to safety. Banks “took a different trail down, much steeper” and became stranded, Gailey said. “He couldn’t go any direction, on a sheer ledge, with his feet dangling 80 feet off the ground.” Rescuers called in a helicopter, and Gailey descended by cable to hoist Banks from the narrow ledge, with the rotors spinning near the cliff and ocean spray battering both men.

Banks was calm for most of the ordeal, but “a little unnerved” at that part, Gailey said. Morro Rock is a landmark located just offshore from the community of Morro Bay. Climbing is banned but some go anyway and there have been several fatal falls over the years. Typically when someone needs to be rescued they are ticketed, Gailey said. It was not immediately clear if Banks, who was unharmed, was cited.

Banks said nothing during the rescue about any second thoughts on his choice of setting for the proposal, Gailey said. However, the fire captain said others should consider a place “where you’re not in danger of falling off a cliff.”

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