Salt Lake search team rescues hiker after he falls 100ft into Utah waterfall, calls 911

Don Sweeney
The Charlotte Observer

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — When Owen Smith saw lifeguards approaching after plunging 100 feet into a waterfall in Little Cottonwood Canyon, the 21-year-old from Utah had a thought.

“I was like oh my god I’m actually go get help“, Smith, who suffered a fractured femur and pelvis, as well as three broken ribs and a punctured lung, told KUTV. “I’m not going to die here.

The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team found Smith the night after he fell into a swimming pool about halfway up Lisa Falls in the canyon east of Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 7, according to a news release.

Smith told KUTV that he slipped and fell while searching for his dropped phone while on a solo sunset hike that “didn’t go quite the way I wanted it to.”

“When I lost my footing and saw how much I was falling, it was just, ‘oh shit, this is probably the end of it,'” Smith told the station. But he kept his phone and called 911, then spent two anxious hours waiting for help.

Four lifeguards rappelled down the falls to Smith to provide medical attention and prepare him for rescue, the statement said.

Others built rope systems to lower Smith and two rescuers to the ground, researchers said.

Doctors treated Smith’s injuries at the base of the falls and an ambulance took him to hospital, the statement said. The rescue lasted until 12:30 a.m.

“We have a long road to recovery and physical therapy ahead of us,” said a GoFundMe set up to help pay medical bills, adding that Smith was “very lucky.”


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