Rocky romance: Man who scaled cliff to propose gets rescued

In this photo provided by Bob Isenberg, Michael Banks is stranded on a ledge some 80 feet off the ground on Morro Rock, a landmark in Morro Bay, Calif., Thursday, April 7, 2016. He had scaled the rock to make an Internet proposal to his girlfriend - who said yes - but then got stuck on a ledge and couldn't get down. A helicopter had to be called, and Morro Bay Fire Department Capt. Todd Gailey was lowered by cable to pluck Banks and take him to safety.(Bob Isenberg via AP)

MORRO BAY, Calif. (AP) — As marriage proposals go, Michael Banks’ was a cliff-hanger.

Banks, 27, scaled 600-foot Morro Rock just off California’s Central Coast early Thursday to propose to his girlfriend, who was watching via cellphone video.

The good news: Banks’ girlfriend said yes, Morro Bay fire Capt. Todd Gailey said.

The bad news: Banks got stuck on the ledge and had to be plucked by helicopter for a tricky, post-proposal flight to safety.

Banks “took a different trail down, much steeper” and became stranded, Gailey said. “He couldn’t go any direction, on a sheer ledge, with his feet dangling 80 feet off the ground.”

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 churning air from the blades battering both men.

Banks was calm for most of the ordeal, but “a little unnerved” at that part, Gailey said. He was not hurt.

Morro Rock is a landmark 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.

Typically when someone needs to be rescued, they are ticketed, Gailey said. It was not immediately clear if Banks was cited.

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.”

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