Man who fell from La Crosse bluff identified

La Crosse police have released the name of the man who fell about 70 feet from a bluff in La Crosse Friday afternoon.

Zachary Nelson, 22, of Rochester, Minnesota, is in critical condition at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse.

La Crosse firefighters had said, “it’s incredible he’s still alive” after the fall Nelson took. Nelson was not in an unrestricted area.


A man suffered life-threatening injuries after falling from a bluff in La Crosse on Friday afternoon.

The call came in around 1:40 p.m. The caller said someone fell off a bluff near Rim of the City Road.


La Crosse firefighters the man fell 70 feet and “it’s incredible he’s still alive.” The man was not in a restricted area. He was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Rescue crews were already on the bluffs training. The team that was training responded immediately to the call. La Crosse Fire Department Captain Frank Devine said it took his team about 10 to 15 minutes to find the man.

“The team did an excellent job. We were really well organized, working with police and dispatch. We worked really well. The coordinated search effort in the beginning went well. The most difficult part was getting our equipment to where the victim was located,” said Devine.

Devine said it was very difficult getting the man to the ambulance because the trees are so thick.

“The environment was tough. There were no trails to where the patient was. Getting our equipment to the patinent was more difficult than usual and the steepeness of the slope we were working on and making our way through the trees,” said Devine.

Rescue crews closed the northbound lane of Highway 16 near the storage units so the ambulance could get to the victim. Traffic was backed up to La Crosse Street due to the bluff rescue.

On August 28, crews rescued a 22-year-old woman hiker who fell about 40-50 feet from an unauthorized area of Grandad Bluff. She was transported with non-life-threatening injuries to a local hospital. Police later gave the woman a $303 fine for trespassing is an unathorized area of the bluff.