A 4-year-old Santa Rosa boy who plunged down a more than 230-foot cliff near Bodega Bay was upgraded to serious condition Tuesday at Children’s Hospital Oakland after undergoing treatment for multiple broken bones.
Sebastion Johnson was throwing rocks into the ocean Monday evening at Bodega Head when he slipped over the edge, said his father, Daryl Johnson.
The boy’s mother, Janie Guglielmino, was standing right next to him, throwing rocks also, but she could not stop him before he fell, Johnson said.
“She couldn’t catch him fast enough,” he said. “He slipped and went right over.”
He said Guglielmino was “on her knees, screaming,” when he reached her with his 7-year-old daughter. They had been reading whale-watching signs about 300 feet away when the accident happened, he said.
Johnson said they feared their son fell into the crashing waves below and was swept to open water. They could not see the youth, who was wearing a bright blue jacket, in part because it was getting dark, he said.
But authorities arrived and spotted the boy lying at the bottom of the cliff, just a few feet from the water line, he said.
Bodega Bay firefighters used ropes to get down to him and brought him back up in a basket, Johnson said.
The boy had a compound leg fracture, a broken wrist, two skull fractures and two smaller fractures on his face, his father said.
After being taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, he was transported by ambulance to the Oakland hospital about 7 p.m. He underwent surgery on his leg, received a blood transfusion and was in an induced coma.
Firefighters initially had described his condition as critical but stable. Children’s Hospital spokesman Kevin Kimbrough listed him Tuesday as in “serious” condition.
The incident is the second rescue in three days. On Saturday, a 23-year-old woman climbing rocks in Bodega Head slipped and fell about 20 feet.
Crew members from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office helicopter rescued her from the beach. She was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with moderate injuries.
“If you are unfamiliar with the area, stay away from the cliffs,” said Jason Downing, acting captain at the Bodega Bay fire department. “The edges are deceiving.”
Johnson, who remained at home Tuesday in Santa Rosa with his daughters, the 7-year-old and an infant, was awaiting an update from Sebastion’s mother, who was at the hospital.
“He’s stabilized,” he said. “They are just monitoring him to see where things go from here. I’m praying I hear good news here soon.”
He responded to online criticism that he and the boy’s mother were somehow to blame for the accident, saying, “We were right there with our kids.”
“We weren’t negligent parents,” he said.
The family was hiking and picnicking at Bodega Head about two hours before Sebastion fell. The boy was throwing rocks into the ocean with his mother as father and daughter read signs and looked at deer nearby, he said.
Johnson was walking up to tell the boy and his mother it was time to go home when he realized Sebastion had fallen.
“He tried to throw a big rock and slipped,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t see where he landed.”