Hiker who survived cliff fall in stable condition

GILROY, Calif.

James Martin III, of Hollister, survived a fall from the top of "Lovers Leap" cliff in the Pacheco Pass area of unincorporated Santa Clara County, sheriff's officials said.

His hiking partner, Travis Bermudes, 22, of Hollister, was found dead at the bottom of the cliff.

Martin and Bermudes had driven to the Bell Station area near the 1400 block of Pacheco Pass Highway and began hiking up rocks and cliffs at about 9 a.m. Sunday, according to the sheriff's office.

At the top of the cliff, the hikers lost the climbing equipment necessary to rappel down. They then lost their footing while attempting to retrieve the equipment, and fell from the cliff, sheriff's officials said.

Deputies were notified at about 4:40 p.m. that the two hikers had fallen, and that one had suffered major injuries.

Working with Cal Fire crews, deputies found Bermudes dead near the base of the cliff.

Martin was taken to a hospital to be treated for his injuries, and sheriff's officials said Tuesday he is expected to survive.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Santa Clara County sheriff's Detective Sgt. Ryan Elder or Detective Sgt. Julian Quinonez at (408) 808-4500 or the office's anonymous tip line at (408) 808-4431.

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