Authorities briefly closed River Road Monday afternoon in Rio Nido while emergency crews rescued a man who fell down a steep embankment along the Russian River.

People in canoes heard the man yelling at the base of a 70- to 80-foot cliff and called 911 just before 3 p.m., Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman said.

The man had been walking with a woman and a dog on a path on top of the rocky cliff when the man fell, Baxman said. He stumbled down the first 20 feet then tumbled down the remaining 50, according to Baxman.

"He had some serious injuries," and was lying on rocks near the water when the canoers came by, Baxman said.

Firefighters with Russian River, Forestville and Cal Fire got down to the injured man and put him on a backboard. They pulled the man up to the road with a rope system, joined by two Sonoma County sheriff's deputies, Baxman said.

CHP officers closed River Road while a REACH helicopter ambulance landed. The man was loaded into the copter and flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Baxman said.

The man and his companion had apparently parked at a turnout and then walked along the path, Baxman said.

The road was closed until just before 4 p.m.