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Fresno man recovering after fall, complex rescue

OAKHURST, Calif. (AP) -- A Fresno man is recovering after a fall during a hike and a complicated rescue in the Sierra Nevada foothills, authorities said.

Larry Teixeira was hiking with friends when he lost his footing and tumbled about 50 feet down an embankment along the side of the Lewis Creek trail on Sunday, said Madera County sheriff's spokeswoman Erica Stuart. The trail is a scenic hike with steep climbs several miles outside of Yosemite National Park, near the mountain community of Oakhurst.

After the fall, Teixeira, 38, ended up wedged between huge boulders that were perched above a fast-moving river, Stuart said.

Because of his injuries, the height of the boulders and the slippery moss they were covered with, Teixeira was unable to get out from between the boulders, Stuart said.

“He was wedged in so badly the only way he could get him out was a vertical extraction,” Stuart said. “He was injured. He wasn't moving. He wasn't walking out, and they couldn't carry him out.”

Rescue efforts were especially difficult because the first crews had to cross the river to get closer to him. They had to climb up the embankment he had fallen down so they could find a tree sturdy enough to attach ropes so they could remove Teixeira, who is estimated to weight about 250 pounds, on a litter basket, Stuart said.

It took 24 members of the Madera County search-and-rescue team and crews from other agencies about five hours to get the injured hiker out from between the boulders. He was taken to a hospital where he was being treated for what was described as serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

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