Park Rangers and local rescue personnel responded Tuesday, February 14, to a report of an injured rock climber at Joshua Tree National Park. Michael Mullen, 30, of San Diego, California, was climbing with companions on the Outer Mongolia rock formation. Mullen was on belay when he lost his footing and fell an estimated 50 feet at approximately 1 pm. He sustained a head injury, cuts and abrasions and was treated at Loma Linda Hospital.
Park emergency personnel received notice of the accident at 1:30 pm Park rangers and Joshua Tree Search and Rescue volunteers responded to the incident as well as National Park Service Fire Engine 3632, Morongo Basin Ambulance, San Bernardino County Engine 36, and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff's Department helicopters Air Rescue 5 and 40 King 6 also supported the rescue operation. Approximately 20 search-and-rescue personnel were involved in the incident. Park Ranger Jimmy Pritchett was Incident Commander.
Mullen received emergency treatment for his injuries and at 4 pm was taken by helicopter to Loma Linda for further medical treatment. The National Park Service advises the use of helmets for all climbing and bouldering activity in the park.