College-age friends help rescue man who fell down cliff at Guadalupe Reservoir in Los Gatos

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Firefighters rescue a homeless man fell down a cliff at the Uvas Reservoir in Los Gatos. Dec. 28, 2017

Eight young people home from college over the winter break ended up rescuing a 60-year-old homeless man who had fallen down a cliff and broken his leg down at the Guadalupe Reservoir in Los Gatos.

The friends, in their late teens and early 20s, told KTVU they noticed a flashlight beaming up from the reservoir about 12:30 a.m. Thursday as they were on their way home. While driving on Hicks Road, they heard a man yelling and trying to get passersby attention. Instead of ignoring the pleas, the friends stopped to help.

“We were just driving down Hicks road,” said Sam Miller of San Jose, “and we see a light flashing over there. So we pull over and we get out of the car and we hear a guy moaning and we yell back and forth asking what happened and I guess he fell down the hill and broke his knee.”
Vedad Gerin of San Jose called 911 and dispatchers guided them on what to do until emergency personnel could take over. 

Eventually, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies, paramedics, San Jose and Santa Clara County firefighters arrived and took the homeless man to the hospital. They had to walk down the steep terrain and then hoist the man up by rope to the side of the rope.

Santa Clara County Fire Battalion Chief. Jeff Sadler estimated he had been stranded with a broken leg at the bottom of the reservoir for up to five hours.

“He was incredibly lucky,” Sadler said, “that he was spotted by some kids driving by.” 

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the name of the reservoir.

OnScene.TV cameraman Zack Podell @zpodell contributed to this report.