Rocky Start to Marriage Proposal Ends With Rescue on Morro Rock

Morro Rock seemed like a picturesque setting for a FaceTime marriage proposal, until the emergency rescue operation

His girlfriend said "yes," but the California Highway Patrol said "no" to a rock climber whose romantic gesture turned into an emergency rescue operation.

Michael Banks, of Fresno, was rescued Thursday morning by a CHP helicopter crew during a romantic, but reckless, marriage proposal on Morro Rock — a nearly 600-foot rock just off Morro Bay Harbor on the Central California coast. Banks was airlifted from the steep rock after a witness heard his calls for help from about 90 feet above the ocean.

It was a picturesque setting for the marriage proposal, which Banks apparently planned to do by connecting with his girlfriend using FaceTime, but it is illegal to climb Morro Rock.

"It kills people," Morro Bay Fire Chief Steve Knuckles told NBC affiliate KSBY. "I have been on at least four calls where people have died on the rock."

Banks was not injured.

Knuckles said Friday that Banks went back to Morro Rock hours after he was plucked from a ledge by a helicopter. San Luis Obispo County jail records indicate he was arrested on suspicion of drug possession and being under the influence.

It was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney. 

Banks will likely face a fine and pay for the cost of the rescue, Knuckles said. Several agencies responded, including CalFire, Harbor Patrol, the Coast Guard and CHP.

Banks reportedly told rescuers his girlfriends said "yes" to his love-on-the-rock proposal.

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