Local

SoCal man rescued from a Fresno County mountain

Thursday, August 02, 2012

A weekend hike turned into a story of survival and rescue for Lawrence Bishop. He went off on his own up the rugged mountain known as Dog Tooth Peak but on his way down, he fell and slid down the granite face, catching himself on a ledge just a few inches wide. His friends didn't know where he was, and hiked out to get help.

Lawrence snapped photos of himself while trapped for 52 hours. Action News interviewed him at his home in Buellton, as he recalled his thoughts. He said, "I just basically hoped I had the stamina and determination to bear the pain and hang on."

During the ordeal, he managed to pen a goodbye note to his wife and daughter. He read it to us. "Cal and Sara, I love you, Sorry I couldn't make it."

Bishop was barely hanging on when rescuers from the Fresno County Mountaineering Rescue Team heard his moans. Russ Richardson heads the team. "Everybody at that point looked up on the mountainside and could see that gentleman up there about two hundred feet above us, it was pretty intense."

Richardson said the rescuers could see immediate action was needed. "He was at his last possible handhold before he slid down the rest of the slope to the bottom of the mountain."

Richardson said a member of the search team, Fresno County Sheriff's Detective David Rippe didn't wait and climbed the cliff. "Deputy Rippe just made a split second decision and just calculated the risks and made a bee line right up the side of the hill toward the victim."

Rippe, guided the California Highway Patrol helicopter to the spot, secured Bishop in a harness and he was lifted off to safety, with only minor injuries.

From his home in Buellton, Bishop said, "I wasn't done living yet."

Richardson said he and all the team members were thrilled to have saved a man's life. "Feels good. It's nice that we were able to help somebody in their time of need."

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
fresno county, caught on tape, missing person, local, gene haagenson
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