‘So others could take a picture’: Boy, 13, survives after falling 30m at Grand Canyon
He was being considerate but almost lost his life.
Wyatt Kauffman, 13, was on a trip with his mother last Tuesday at the Grand Canyon in the US state of Arizona.
At some point while he was on the ledge of a cliff, the teenager stepped aside for others to take photos.
“I was moving out of the way so other people could take a picture,” Wyatt told Phoenix television station KPNX.
“I squatted down and was holding on to a rock. I only had one hand on it,” he said.
He said he did not have a good grip on the rock and fell backwards, plunging nearly 30m.
Rescue crews were deployed and had to rappel down the cliff. They eventually pulled the injured boy out of the canyon in a basket.
The whole operation required two hours and nearly 40 emergency personnel from multiple agencies, the authorities said.
“Team members implemented a high-angle technical rope rescue and were able to safely extract him,” the National Park Service said in a statement.
Wyatt was then airlifted to a hospital in Las Vegas for treatment.
He suffered nine broken vertebrae, a ruptured spleen, a collapsed lung, a concussion, a broken hand and a dislocated finger.
“After the fall, I don’t remember anything after that. I just remember somewhat waking up and being in the back of an ambulance and a helicopter and getting on a plane and getting here,” Wyatt said.
The teen was discharged from hospital on Saturday and is expected to be home in the US state of North Dakota on Tuesday.
His father, Mr Brian Kauffman, was at home at the time of the incident.
He said the family is grateful for his son’s rescue, pointing out that “two hours is an eternity in a situation like that”.
“We’re just lucky we’re bringing our kid home in a car in the front seat instead of in a box,” Mr Kauffman told KPNX.