AUSTIN (KXAN) - Rescue teams saved a man who fell off a cliff near the Pennybacker Bridge in West Austin early Tuesday morning.
Fire and EMS spokesmen said a man and woman were up on the cliff above the northwest side of the bridge that spans Lake Austin along Capital of Texas Highway.
At about 4:30 a.m., they both fell about 30 feet. The woman caught a ledge and was able to climb back up and call 911.
Firefighters found the man on a ledge just below the cliff within a half-hour but had a difficult time reaching him. He suffered a leg injury.
The rescuers had help from a STARFlight helicopter that beamed a bright light and had a view from above. Austin's fire department put a boat in the water below as well.
Once rescue teams reached the man, STARFlight lifted him to University Medical Center Brackenridge.
Earlier this summer, hikers told KXAN they wanted the Texas Department of Transportation to put up fences to warn of the danger. Still, others said fences would ruin the picturesque scenery.
The Texas Department of Transportation released the following statement after Tuesday's rescue:
"Safety is our number one priority, and as such, we have always made sure to properly post signage to prevent parking in that area. Since the last incident, we installed new and replaced old “No Parking” signs within this area. These signs are regulatory signs that local law enforcement can enforce. Unfortunately, we have a problem with people removing the signs and not adhering to the law. We continue to work with local law enforcement to patrol this area more regularly.
In regards to the fence option, our agency looked into this a year ago and found it was not feasible due to there being multiple access points to the cliff.
While we will continue to do everything we can to keep the public safe on and along our roadways, Texans themselves are the only ones who can truly ensure their own safety by obeying laws, adhering to posted warnings, and taking precautions."
Recent emergencies near the Pennybacker Bridge
Several other accidents drew rescuers to the cliffs near the Pennybacker Bridge in recent months.
In June, a 17-year-old girl fell 60 feet from a nearby cliff. She survived but suffered serious injuries.
In April 2012, there were two similar accidents near the bridge.
In the first case, a 63-year-old man was posing for a picture with his family when he fell 60 feet to his death.
Weeks later, a 21-year-old fell about 20 feet from the cliffs on the other side of Lake Austin. He broke his leg but survived.
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