May gray appears to have kept massive crowds away from Malibu over the Memorial Day Weekend from May 28-31. With overcast skies Saturday and Sunday, things were relatively quiet for what is typically known as the start of the summer season. However, as the weather improved Monday more visitors headed for the coastline and canyon hiking areas.
“Saturday and Sunday were relatively quiet,” according to David Katz, Malibu Search and Rescue team leader. MSAR, which has had a busy year rescuing stranded hikers and accident victims, actually made no calls the first two days of the three-day holiday weekend. That changed Monday when MSAR, California State Parks and other emergency responders were called to help rescue a hiker who had fallen off a cliff in Topanga State Park near a spot known as Eagle Rock. The 27-year-old male hiker fell 100 to 150 feet down a cliff in the recent burn area of the Palisades Fire.
“He suffered significant injuries,” Katz reported. “Apparently, there were two hikers from out [of] the area just out for a day hike. While sitting out on Eagle Rock and getting up to leave, one slipped off the rock and fell. Eagle Rock is a pretty steep cliff.” The victim was airlifted to a hospital. Later on Monday, Los Angeles County Fire Department first responders answered a call to help an injured mountain biker in Malibu Creek State Park’s backcountry.
MSAR and lifeguards also rescued an unconscious swimmer at Pirate’s Cove near Zuma Beach. The victim was cut off from shore with a high tide surrounding him. Katz reported the victim was eventually able to be “walked out.”
“It was a fairly quiet weekend for Memorial Day and a much cooler one than usual,” Katz reflected. “That all contributed to a safer weekend.”
There were, however, rumors of a man armed with a knife at La Costa Beach, although officials at the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station were not able to verify the reports when reached by The Malibu Times on Tuesday. According to neighbors, the man, in his 20s or 30s, had a holstered knife that appeared to be about eight or nine inches long and was walking an aggressive dog—but no one was injured and no arrests were reportedly made.
Asked about his first three-day weekend as mayor of Malibu, Paul Grisanti responded, “The weather was our friend, even though there were a ton of people at Zuma Beach.”
The mayor said he made the rounds around Malibu over the long weekend but that “it was nothing like the pressure we have on a hot summer day.”
Malibu Media Information Officer Matt Meyerhoff released a statement regarding holiday traffic with some encouraging news: “There were no major complaints about car gatherings and racing like we’ve seen a lot of recently, thanks to the efforts by sheriff’s deputies to crack down on several known entities that were promoting car gatherings in Malibu. The additional CHP [California Highway Patrol] and sheriff’s patrols helped keep PCH and canyons safe. The Volunteers on Patrol (VOPs) and sheriff’s deputies were out working hard on parking enforcement all weekend. The VOPs issued more than 500 total parking citations … including 80 for oversized vehicles and overnight parking violations on PCH.”
The weekend was capped off with an emergency plane landing in Agoura Hills as visitors were returning home from the beach and elsewhere Monday. At 7 p.m., a small Cessna aircraft was able to safely land on the Ventura (101) Freeway eastbound just barely missing cars during a natural break in traffic flow. The Reyes Adobe offramp was closed for hours as the plane was quickly moved there out of regular lanes. Two people aboard the aircraft were unhurt in the incident.
Attempts to verify the total number of beach visitors in Malibu from Friday through Monday were unsuccessful, as the LA County Lifeguards did not reply to multiple requests for comment on Tuesday.