Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Man Rescued By Helicopter From Abandoned Water Tank

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

A man exploring a massive, abandoned water tank at the "Nazi bunker" at Murphy Ranch had to be lifted out by helicopter yesterday.

Fire department spokesman Erik Scott told City News Service that they received a 911 call around 11:53 a.m. of a man trapped in the tank in Topanga State Park, just above Pacific Palisades.

"Our preliminary information was that there was some wires or cables there that the hiker may have used to climb into the tank and then couldn't get himself out,'' Scott said. When firefighters arrived at the scene, they determined that a helicopter was needed to get him out.

"He was hoisted out unhurt and brought to a polo field at Will Rogers State Park where he was met by paramedics,'' Scott added.

Support for LAist comes from

The 20-foot deep water tank was located on the Sullivan Ridge Fire Road, part of the Murphy Ranch complex that was originally built as a California stronghold by Nazi sympathizers in 1933. The graffiti-heavy destination is a popular one for hikers since so much of the concrete structures still survive, even after a fire swept through the area.

While it was still operational, it was outfitted with a garden, diesel power plant, the 375,000 gallon water tank, a giant meat locker and a bomb shelter, according to the Huffington Post. It was designed to be a self-sustaining compound.

Historian Randy Young told Pacific Palisades Patch that removing these structures would be expensive and difficult.