SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - San Diego Fire Department rescued a man who fell from a canyon in University Heights Sunday.

Witnesses say the man fell about 100 feet down the canyon near the intersection of Adams Avenue and Mission Cliff Drive.

An off-duty deputy who was in the area, stepped in to help him.

One woman says she saw the man right before he fell.

"There was a guy sitting there eating a snack, he stepped forward a little bit -- I turned my back and heard rocks sliding out of the way, then I turned back and he was gone," Meredith Barnes said.

Barnes said she and another woman called out to the man, but didn’t get a response.

Off-duty Sheriff's Deputy Charles Schioldager heard the commotion and came out of his home.

"I ran and got my medic bag and ran down there," Schioldager said.

Schioldager said he did his best to find the best route down the steep canyon and got to him.

"He was a big guy so there wasn’t much room for maneuvering, he was wedged in there," he said.

Schioldager said he stayed with him until emergency crews arrived.

"He had a pretty bad open head wound, all I could do was get gauze on there to stop the bleeding," he said.

Crews arrived and were able to carefully hoist the man out of the canyon.

Battalion Chief Robert Hartman says the rescue was complicated and credits Schioldager with risking his life to help save the man.

"He’s an off-duty sheriff and what he did was very brave. For the fact of terrain -- he’s a public servant, so he’s going to do what he thought was right," Hartman said. "If he had just blown it off, that guy could very well be down there and could’ve died down there. I give a lot of credit to that man who went down there."