A 16-year-old boy was killed Wednesday when he slipped off or intentionally leaped from an 80-foot bluff above a pond in the East County highlands, hitting his head on a boulder on the way down, authorities said.
The accident at Cedar Creek Falls, a secluded spot in Cleveland National Forest popular with sightseers and thrill-seeking cliff jumpers, was reported shortly after 11:30 a.m., authorities said.
Friends of the El Cajon youth made a 911 call and carried him up a steep slope to a clearing, where an emergency-services helicopter crew picked him up, Cal Fire Capt. Mike Mohler said.
The boy was flown to a Ramona-area fire station, where he was pronounced dead. His name was withheld pending family notification.
A boy struck by the falling teen was airlifted to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido for treatment of apparently minor injuries, according to Mohler.
The remote area is a growing problem for Cal Fire and other public agencies, as more visitors become stranded there without enough water or proper footwear for the challenging hike out, according to Mohler.
Last weekend, emergency crews transported 10 or more injured, dehydrated or heat-exhausted people out of the rugged locale. And over the years, many youths have been injured trying to leap from the cliffs surrounding the shallow, rocky pool at the bottom of the falls.
“We’ve had a real issue with this place,” Capt. Mohler said.