A North Dakota teenager survived a 100-foot fall when he slipped off a Grand Canyon cliff last week while on a family vacation.
Wyatt Kauffman, 14, recalled the harrowing experience in his hospital bed, where he was recovering from nine fractured vertebrae, a ruptured spleen and other serious injuries.
“I can’t remember anything after the fall,” he said said KPNX of Arizona.
“I just remember waking up, sitting in the back of an ambulance and a helicopter, getting on a plane and coming here.”
Kauffman said he fell Tuesday while trying to dodge on the north rim of the Grand Canyon so others could take a picture.
“I squatted down and grabbed a rock. I only had one hand with me,” Kauffman said, adding. “The grip wasn’t that good. It kind of pushed me back. I lost my footing and fell back.”
The TV station reported that it took two hours and dozens of National Park Service first responders to tumble down the cliff at Bright Angel Point Trail and rescue the boy in a basket from the ravine.
In addition to the fractured vertebrae and ruptured spleen, he suffered a concussion, a collapsed lung, a broken hand, and a dislocated finger.
Scars and bruises covered one side of his face, although his father Brian told the broadcaster it “looks a lot better than yesterday”.
Brian was in North Dakota while his son and wife were visiting national parks. The young man was reportedly released over the weekend and was on his way home.
“We’re just lucky that we can get our kid home in the front seat of the car,” said Brian Kauffman. “Instead of in a box.”