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Man Hurt in Landslide Is Safe After 24-Hour Climb

March 31, 1993|Associated Press

SANTA BARBARA — A medical laboratory worker hurt in a beach landslide that killed his friend used a driftwood splint to bind his shattered leg, then climbed for more than 24 hours to safety, officials said.

Thomas Labarge, 31, of Santa Barbara crawled onto U.S. 101 near Gaviota on Monday afternoon. A passing motorist called authorities.

"With a broken leg, I'm surprised he was able to make it, even in a day and a half," said Capt. Michael Hipes of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Labarge and a friend were on an isolated beach Saturday at sunset when the landslide began, Hipes said. Apparently, Labarge tried to free the trapped man.

"His friend was half-buried in the cliff and boulders," Hipes said. "He couldn't get him out."

The name of the dead man has not been released.

Labarge suffered multiple fractures to one leg and devised a splint using driftwood and his belt and shoelaces, Hipes said. He began the climb up the rocky cliff on Sunday.

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