California man rescued by helicopter after clifftop marriage proposal

A California man’s wedding proposal turned out to be a real cliff-hanger.

Michael John Paul Banks, 27, scaled 600-foot Morro Rock around 15 minutes before sunrise Thursday to ask for his girlfriend’s hand in marriage via the video messaging app Facetime. 

Banks’ girlfriend said yes, but popping the question turned out to be the least nerve-wracking part of his day. 

Morro Bay fire Capt. Todd Gailey told the Associated Press that Banks tried to take a different, “much steeper” route down the cliff than on his ascent.

“He couldn’t go any direction, on a sheer ledge, with his feet dangling 80 feet off the ground,” Gailey said.

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.

KEYT reported that Banks was cited for misdemeanor trespassing before being released at the scene. 

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.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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