Firefighters spent two hours Friday rescuing a bulldozer operator who survived a 200-foot slide down a ridge in his rig.
Jessie Econtrias, 62, was grading a ridge near Newport Coast Drive and Vista Ridge Road about 9:45 a.m. when his bulldozer lost its footing and skidded down a steep incline, Fire Authority Capt. Scott Brown said.
Econtrias was not thrown from the bulldozer but suffered chest injuries from being flung around the cabin, Brown said. A Fire Authority helicopter airlifted him to Western Medical Center-Santa Ana. Paramedics who treated him said it appeared he suffered broken ribs, Brown said.
The bulldozer "landed in an area inaccessible by helicopter and required our firefighters to literally go down on their hands and knees," Brown said.
The rescuers used an elaborate rope system to hoist the man to safety, Brown said.
About 25 firefighters, many of them members of the Urban Search and Rescue unit, were part of the rescue.
As is procedure, Cal/OSHA is investigating the accident.