A man was hospitalized after his big-rig trailer plunged 150 feet over the side of Highway 154 near Paradise Road early Thursday morning. 

Just before 5 a.m., Santa Barbara County Fire responded to a report of a tractor-trailer that had fallen over the side on Highway 154 about an eighth of a mile west of Paradise Road.

Upon arrival, crews discovered that the male driver, who was the only occupant in the vehicle, was ejected from his vehicle but later climbed back inside the cab to keep warm. The trailer was hauling unknown cargo, and was found 150 feet over the side.

Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue officials, with assistance from U.S. Forest Services, devised a rope system to safely extricate the patient and bring him safely back up to the road. 

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The driver was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital by American Medical Response ambulance after sustaining moderate injuries from the crash, said County Fire public information officer Mike Eliason.

Highway 154 was closed for some time while officials rescued the patient and removed the vehicle. 

The crash remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol. 

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210

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