Man Identified From Yesterday’s Fatality in Shelter Cove, Difficult Recovery Efforts Described
Yesterday at approximately 11: 46 a.m., Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue along with Shelter Cove Fire and Cal Fire responded to a vehicle over the cliff on the rocks at Abalone Point in Shelter Cove. Access to the vehicle was extremely difficult and the driver was found deceased.
According to the Humboldt County Coroner, “For unknown reasons the vehicle had left the roadway, drove through a wooden fence, and off a bluff near the ocean. The vehicle came to a rest nose down, approximately fifteen to twenty feet below the top of the bluff. The reasons why the vehicle left the roadway are still under investigation.”
Jason Dewayne Fleming, age 41, of Shelter Cove, was declared deceased at the scene. But, as Diana Totten, spokesperson for Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue explained, EMT’s were not immediately able to make access to the vehicle. However, they eventually made their way down the cliff to where the vehicle was perched.
” Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue, law enforcement and the coroner worked for several hours with Shelter Cove Fire to extricate the body from the vehicle. The vehicle was very unstable on the side of the cliff. Shelter Cove Fire and the rescue team secured the vehicle with cables and chains to keep the vehicle from falling farther towards the ocean,” explained Totten. “The Shelter Cove fire engine was being used to stabilize the vehicle. It was a very complicated recovery effort.”
A tow truck was later able to retrieve the vehicle from the side of the cliff.
Totten said that even though the man was deceased, his body must be handled very carefully. “We treat every call and every victim with the highest regard and respect… whether we’re able to save the victim or not, we handle the job very professionally and with the utmost respect,” she said.
Many of the firefighters assisting on the recovery had been fighting the fires and were on their only day off. The community, Totten said, was extremely supportive though. “The Shelter Cove CERT Team and Delgada’s Pizza furnished us with food and drink,” she reported. “We so much appreciate that.”