An Indiana man fell 60 feet to his death after walking off a cliff in San Diego on Christmas Day, authorities say.
The man was identified by his family on social media as Joshua Burwell, 33, of Sheridan, Indiana.
“Witnesses stated seeing someone distracted by an electronic device and he just fell over the edge,” San Diego Lifeguard Sergeant Bill Bender told NBC San Diego. “(He) wasn’t watching where he was walking, he was looking down at the device in his hands.”
The fall happened at about 4:50 p.m. on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, Bender said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Witness Says He Heard Burwell Scream ‘Help, Please God, Save Me’
Witnesses scrambled down the rocks to try and save Burwell after hearing him scream, “help, please God, save me,” 13-year-old Thor Wilink told NBC San Diego.
Wilink said he two surfers and a woman were able to get to Burwell, and performed CPR on him.
2. He Was Pronounced Dead When Medics Arrived
Burwell was pronounced dead at the scene when medics arrived, Bill Bender told NBC San Diego.
Bender praised the Good Samaritans who tried to help Burwell before emergency responders got to the scene.
“They acted quickly, they found a way to get down the cliff,’ Bender said. “They put themselves at jeopardy … They administered CPR to the person in attempt to save a life.”
3. He Was Possibly at the Cliff to Watch the Sunset, Officials Say
Burwell was visiting San Diego, officials said. He is believed to have been at the cliff to watch the sunset.
“We found out today that Joshua was killed in a fall while taking pictures from the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean in San Diego. We are heartbroken,” his mother, Sharyle Burwell, said on Facebook.
According to Fox 5 San Diego, Burwell was in a car with another person when he left to find a parking spot.
4. His Family Paid Tribute to Him on Facebook, Saying He Was a ‘Loving’ Son, Brother & Father
Burwell’s father, Joey Burwell, posted on Facebook, “You will always be loved by your family and friends. You will forever hold a special place in my heart. Loving son, loving brother, loving father. Gone way to soon, now sitting at the side of God. We have always loved you.”
Burwell is survived by his son, Brendon, his family says.
“I am grateful for 33 years of Josh’s wit and sparkle and smile,” his mother posted. “Nothing will lessen this pain except time. Treat each other with love and kindness. You never know how quickly things can change.”
5. Officials Reminded People to Be Aware of Their Surroundings
Officials reminded people to be aware of their surroundings while walking.
“Just like driving and using a cell phone, you don’t want to be walking and using a cell phone or be distracted or anything,” San Diego Lifeguard Sergeant Bill Bender told NBC San Diego.
Bender said the device, which may have been a phone or camera, was not found.