A 13-year-old boy narrowly escaped death when he fell 100ft after taking a photo at the Grand Canyon’s north rim. During the fall, Wyatt Kauffman sustained multiple injuries, including a fractured spine. Even more incredibly, the teen has been able to walk again after less than a week.
The fateful incident occurred during a visit to the Grand Canyon’s north rim in Arizona. Wyatt, capturing the breathtaking vistas with his phone and camera, recounted his moment atop the renowned Bright Angel Point trail.
As Wyatt positioned himself to take a photograph for others, he grasped onto a rock with a single hand. “I kind of stood up – I lost my grip, and that’s when I started to fall back,” Wyatt told ABC. “I cannot remember anything past that point. I just remember somewhat waking up and being in the back of an ambulance, and a helicopter, and then the plane.”
A formidable rescue operation unfolded as dedicated teams employed ropes and specialized equipment to retrieve the boy. Air-lifted to a pediatric trauma centre in Las Vegas, Wyatt underwent treatment for several injuries, including nine fractured vertebrae, a ruptured spleen, and a collapsed lung. His injuries also included a concussion, broken hand, and dislocated finger.
Medical experts project an arduous path to a full recovery, yet Wyatt’s determination defied expectations. In a little over half a week, he showcased his resilience by walking unaided.
Wyatt’s father, Brian Kauffman, expressed immense relief at his son’s survival, saying, “I’m thankful he’s coming home in the front seat of the car instead of a [coffin] in the back. Wyatt’s progress has been astounding, and we are confident that he will make a full recovery.”
Wyatt’s astonishing survival echoes the sobering reality of the Grand Canyon’s treacherous terrain. Over the past decade, over 80 individuals have had accidents by slipping over the canyon’s edge. Over the past ten years, many fall-related deaths have been attributed to people taking selfies in dangerous circumstances. Just recently, an Urbex photographer fell to his death from a skyscraper in Hong Kong.
[Via The Guardian]