Rescue operation

A Joshua Tree rescue team stabilizes 65-year-old William Becher Jr. in a rock formation on Ryan Mountain, where he was hurt in a fall Friday afternoon. Becher was carried off the mountain and flown to Desert Regional Medical Center.

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK — An injured rock climber was rescued after falling about 30 feet down a rock face here Friday.

Rescuers stabilized William Becher Jr., 65, and then put him on a wheeled litter to a helicopter waiting at the nearby Oyster Bar parking area.

He sustained a leg fracture and possible head injuries on Saddle Rock, a granite formation on the lower, northwest face of Ryan Mountain.

Park rangers monitored the rescue’s progress from an incident command center at the Hall of Horrors parking area, about a quarter mile from where the victim was being stabilized and prepared for transport. About 10 search and rescue volunteers and park staff participated in the effort.

A Morongo Basin Ambulance crew transported the victim through the desert after he was lowered to the ground and a Mercy Air helicopter took him to Desert Regional Medical Center.

San Bernardino County Fire Department Medical Engine 36 from Joshua Tree was also on scene.

Saddle Rock, more than 100 feet tall, has the highest vertical pitch of any rock formation in the park. A climber fell to his death there in April.

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