Landslide Kills Beachgoer; Injured Survivor Scales Cliff For Help
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) _ A landslide on a rocky beach killed a beachgoer and injured another man who splinted his shattered leg and spent more than a day scaling a cliff to safety.
Thomas Labarge, 31, crawled onto Highway 101 on Monday afternoon and a passing motorist called authorities, said Fire Capt. Michael Hipes.
″With a broken leg, I’m surprised he was able to make it, even in a day and a half,″ Hipes said. ″His friend was half buried in the cliff and boulders. He couldn’t get him out.″
Labarge was in fair condition at a hospital Tuesday.
After spending most of Saturday at an isolated beach near the Gaviota Tunnel, the men were caught in a landslide around sunset, Hipes said. While Labarge’s account of the accident wasn’t entirely clear, he apparently stayed for some time with his friend, Hipes said.
The name of the dead man was not released.
Labarge suffered multiple fractures to one leg, and devised a splint using driftwood, his belt and shoelaces, Hipes said. Sometime on Sunday, he began the climb up the 100-foot rocky cliff, Hipes said.
″He’s pretty shaken up,″ said his sister, Jeanette Musser.
″Evidently, it took that long for him to reach help. He’s very determined. He’s a survivor.″
Hipes said the rocks may have been drenched by recent rains, causing the landslide. The beach is about 10 miles southwest of former President Reagan’s 680-acre ranch in Santa Barbara County.