Cliff diver injured after fall at Saguaro Lake


by Christine LaCroix

Posted on May 29, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 29 at 5:02 PM

Map: Saguaro Lake

View larger map

TONTO NATIONAL FOREST, Ariz. -- A 19-year-old man has head trauma, back injuries and broken bones after falling on a 95-foot cliff at Saguaro Lake Tuesday morning.

He was climbing the cliff in an attempt to dive into the lake when his friends started shouting at him to turn around.

"They noticed the place he wanted to dive from was too shallow, they told him not to dive," said Lt. Russ Skinner, a lake patrolman with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

That's when he lost his footing on the slippery rock and slid more than 30 feet.

He ended up in a secluded area and rescuers had to hike about 25 minutes to get to him. When they reached the 19-year-old, he was conscious but in serious pain.

They hiked him down the cliff to a waiting sheriff's boat that whisked him to shore where emergency vehicles were waiting to transport him to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center. 

Although he is going to survive, multiple fatalities occur on that cliff every year, either from people falling or diving into too-shallow water. 

"The big word of advice is just don't do it," said Skinner, who has worked out at the lake for five years and has been involved with multiple rescues at the cliff.

"Any kind of cliff jumping is dangerous," he added.