Detailed in the Anchorage Daily News, a young woman named Maria Pestrikoff plummeted sixty feet off a cliff when she was walking while texting. According to the account of the incident, she was attempting to write a text on her cell phone when she walked near a cliff to flick a cigarette butt off the edge. Her home is located near the cliff, thus it’s likely that she commonly uses the cliff to discard old cigarette butts when outside. While she was occupied with sending a text message, Pestrikoff lost her footing on wet grass and quickly fell onto a dangerous, rocky area on the Kodiak beach below.
Luckily discovered by her friend Anthony Burke, Pestrikoff was spotted between large boulders along the beach. While Pestrikoff was shrieking in pain, both the Bayside Fire Department and Kodiak Fire Department were called to the scene in order to attempt a rescue from above.
While some of the firefighters were able to descend to her location using an aluminum ladder, others eventually had to rappel down the side of the cliff in order to stabilize Pestrikoff and lift her to safety.
Fortunately, the firefighters were able to remove Pestrikoff from the rocky terrain prior to the tide coming in to cover the rocks. Just ten feet away when she was moved away, the freezing cold water could have escalated her injuries with the threat of hypothermia. Regarding the incoming water, Burke stated “The tide was right up to her toes by the time they were able to get her out.”
Placed in a stretcher, Pestrikoff was transported to Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center in an ambulance before being flown to an Anchorage hospital. After falling on September 17, Pestrikoff is still in the Anchorage hospital recovering from her many injuries. This incident is somewhat similar to the Texas student that drove off a bridge while texting “I need to quit texting,” as well as the woman that walked off a pier into Lake Michigan while attempting to send a text message.