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Man trapped on rock after proposal rescued, arrested for meth

By Ben Hooper
A helicopter hoists an illegal climber who became stuck on Morro Rock after proposing marriage via Facetime. Screenshot: Storyful
A helicopter hoists an illegal climber who became stuck on Morro Rock after proposing marriage via Facetime. Screenshot: Storyful

MORRO BAY, Calif., April 8 (UPI) -- A California man who scaled the Morro Rock volcanic plug to propose via Facetime ended up with the bill for a costly rescue and an arrest for meth possession.

Authorities said Michael John Paul Banks, 27, of Fresno, illegally climbed the southern side of Morro Rock in Morro Bay Thursday to propose to his girlfriend using the video-messaging app.

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Banks' girlfriend accepted the proposal, but the unauthorized climber's joy soon turned to panic when he slipped while trying to climb down the east side of the rock.

Banks was left dangling from the rock until his cries for help were heard by a witness who called 911.

A video posted to Facebook by the City of Morro Bay shows firefighters from a helicopter crew lifting Banks to safety.

"The gentleman will be billed for the chopper ride and other related costs," the Facebook post said. "We are glad all involved are OK, and appreciate the hard work of our first responders."

"Climbing Morro Rock is illegal and dangerous. We hope folks will choose to view it from below, saving themselves and our fire responders time and money and protecting everyone's safety," the post said.

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However, the saga did not end with Banks' rescue -- he soon found himself under arrest for possession of methamphetamine when witnesses reported he was acting under the influence shortly after the rescue.

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