California man rescued after climbing rock to propose, gets arrested for drug possession

Michael Banks got stuck about 25m off the ground during his climb, and had to be rescued by helicopter.
Michael Banks got stuck about 25m off the ground during his climb, and had to be rescued by helicopter.PHOTO: MORRO BAY FIRE DEPARTMENT
Michael Banks got stuck about 25m off the ground during his climb, and had to be rescued by helicopter.
Michael Banks got stuck about 25m off the ground during his climb, and had to be rescued by helicopter.PHOTO: MORRO BAY FIRE DEPARTMENT

Michael Banks' bid to enter married life was a true cliffhanger.

The 27-year-old scaled the 200m Morro Rock off California's central coast on Thursday (April 7) morning to propose to his girlfriend, who was watching via FaceTime video.

There are conflicting reports on whether she said "yes".

What is certain is Banks got stuck about 25m off the ground during his climb down the rock's precarious eastern side, and had to be rescued by helicopter.

But the drama did not end there. Later that day, the Morro Bay Harbor Department notified police of a complaint against Banks for behaving erratically.

Banks was then arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine, according to The Tribune newspaper.

The city of Morro Bay said in a news release that Banks will also be billed for costs related to the rescue, including the use of the helicopter.

The tricky operation saw Morro Bay fire captain Todd Gailey descend by cable to hoist Banks from the narrow ledge, with the rotors spinning near the cliff and ocean spray battering both men.

Banks was calm for most of the ordeal, but "a little unnerved" at that part, Gailey said later.

He added that Banks said nothing during the rescue about having second thoughts on his choice of setting for the proposal.

However, the fire captain said others should consider a place "where you're not in danger of falling off a cliff".

Morro Rock is a landmark located just offshore from the community of Morro Bay.

Climbing is banned but that has not deterred some, and there have been several fatal falls over the years.