A teenage boy was airlifted to the hospital with his arm partially severed after being struck by a large rock in Laguna Beach on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The 15-year-old was walking with a friend along rocks in the Emerald Bay area of the coastline when a boulder "the size of a big cooler" came down and fell on him, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito.
"Unfortunately, his right arm took the brunt of that boulder, partially severing above his right arm from the boulder," and his left leg had been trapped as well, Bommarito told KTLA.
The fire captain described it as "an unfortunate accident."
It took nearly an hour to rescue the teen from the cliffside after authorities responded around 3:20 p.m., officials said.
After hiking out to the remote area, rescue crews used airbags to lift the rock and then "basically used brute strength to push that boulder off the kid to free him," Bommarito said. According to the fire captain, the airbags can lift thousands of pounds, and the same technique is used in vehicle extrications.
The teen was then flown to a trauma center at UC Irvine with serious injuries to his arm and leg, according to Sgt. Jim Cota, the Laguna Beach police public information officer.
The boy was alert during the transport and his family was by his side Wednesday night, officials said.
There was no apparent instability in the rocky area that the public should avoid, but beachgoers should always be aware of potential danger in cliff areas.
"We don't know if it's going to be stable or not," Bommarito said. "Nobody does."