Colorado

Sep 30, 2009 8:58 AM by Abby Lane

Man survives 75 foot fall

You could say this next story is a miracle. A local man was hiking when he fell about 6 stories.  No one expected him to live, but he did and is recovering.  News First 5's Abby Lane spoke to him.

Sept. 10. Hiking partners Jim Cornwall and Bill Schott woke up early at a campground in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range.  They grabbed their gear and set out for Little Bear, a difficult fourteener with some technical climbing.   A few hours later, they reached the summit.

"It was again a beautiful day," said Cornwall.  "We took a lot of pictures from the top of the summit."

On the way down, Jim looked around to make sure they were on the right trail. That's the last thing he remembers.  "I think that is probably the time at which I lost my footing and fell," he said.

Jim plummeted 75 feet, breaking bones in his arms and hands and suffering a severe head injury. After reaching his friend, Bill put his helmet on Jim's head to stop the bleeding and spoke to him constantly to keep him awake.  Then he called 9-1-1.

Five hours later, Alamosa Search and Rescue arrived.  Through the night ,they carried Jim to a waiting helicopter that took him to St. Mary Corwin hospital in Pueblo the next morning. "They did find that there was a brain bleed and that there was a clot behind the right eye," said Jim.

"The neurosurgeon spoke to me and said that the brain bleed that he had could be fatal," said Kathie, Jim's wife.

Kathie met him at the hospital and began praying.  They're both thankful to everyone who helped saved Jim's life - both on the ground and above.

"I have to believe that God had his hand on me and that for whatever his reasons were he opted to keep me alive," said Jim.

Jim's arm is still in a cast.  His fingers are wrapped in gauze.  He's seeing a neurologist this week. He and Kathie now walk every day. Though he won't be hiking fourteeners again for awhile, he's taking small steps toward a full recovery.

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