County of Marin - News Releases - Marin Headlands Cliff Rescue

For Immediate Release
November 05, 2015

Man OK After Dramatic Cliff Rescue in Headlands

About 300 feet above S.F. Bay, firefighter rappels down to save ‘lucky’ tourist

Woodacre, CA – A middle-aged man was rescued November 4 near the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge after falling approximately 75 feet down a steep cliff and clinging to the wrist of an unidentified rescuer about 300 feet above San Francisco Bay.

A man and a firefighter on the right get pulled up to safety by other rescuers on the left via a rope line, with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.Rescue team works to help a fallen hiker.

It was reported that the unidentified stranded man from Florida, who was uninjured, had slipped after climbing a fence to take a photo near Battery Spencer off picturesque Conzelman Drive, a popular Marin Headlands spot for tourists just above the bridge.

An emergency call was placed at 5:14 p.m. and first responders from the Southern Marin Fire Department and the Marin County Fire Department arrived a few minutes later. Marin County firefighter Willie Krakauer, part of an engine crew from the Marin City station, put on a harness while in transport to the cliff. Southern Marin Fire personnel set up a rope rescue system upon arrival. In the early evening darkness, Krakauer rappelled down the cliff and clipped a rescue rope to the dangling man, who had been holding onto another man’s wrist with one hand and vegetation with the other. He had no support under his feet.

The crews hauled up the man to safety about 15 minutes after the 911 call. He was checked by paramedics and released.

“He was extremely lucky,” said Marin County Fire Battalion Chief Jeremey Pierce. “He could have easily fallen all the way to the water.”

Marin County Fire said the rescued man was approximately 45-50 years old and had a thick accent. The man who had held the stranded man’s wrist was about 20 years old and from Russia, but otherwise unidentified.

Personnel from National Park Service rangers, the California Highway Patrol and Mill Valley Fire Department also assisted with the rescue. Krakauer is in his fifth year with Marin County Fire and his first as a full-time firefighter.


Mike Giannini
Battalion Chief
Marin County Fire Department

33 Castle Rock Ave.
Woodacre, CA 94973
(415) 473-2595
Email: Mike Giannini
Marin County Fire website