Hiker falls 200ft and then walks to safety holding broken neck in place
A hiker walked to safety holding her broken neck in place after falling 200 feet.
Ruth Woroniecki, 40, from Thornton, Colorado, was hiking on Christmas Eve last year in the San Gabriel mountains in California when the unfortunate event occurred.
She had climbed to the top of Cucamonga Peak and was heading back down at about 12pm when she slipped on some ice and fell, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department said in a December statement.
She suffered lacerations to the face, a major head wound, and a broken neck, a GoFundMe fundraiser for her medical costs states.
NBC News reported that she walked 150 feet to a clearing to meet up with a rescue helicopter that was struggling in strong winds, holding her broken neck in place.
“I’m just deeply, deeply grateful,” she said of the people who found her after she fell.
She was camping with family in Lytle Creek when she went for the hike, the sheriff’s office said.
She doesn’t remember falling but was surrounded by helping people by the time she woke up, according to WRAL.
One individual provided rescue workers with the coordinates of her location while someone else was covering her up with her coat.
The sheriff’s office said a fellow hiker “activated his Garmin inReach device to get her help”.
After rescue workers decided that she needed a helicopter, the aircraft was unable to get near enough because of “gusty winds coming over the Cucamonga Saddle”.
That left Ms Woroniecki to walk to the clearing nearby. A rescue worker put her in a harness to be lifted out “and assisted her to an open area,” the sheriff’s office said in December. She was then airlifted out and later taken to an area hospital in an ambulance.
She said it’s “extremely exciting” to be back on her own two legs even while she’s still in recovery.
She noted the importance of her faith when speaking to WRAL.
“That’s what I was saying about prayer,” adding that she remembers thinking “Jesus, now, help me. Be with me”.
“And he brought me that sense of hope and comfort, and he got me through,” she added.
“For her to be alive – that’s a miracle,” Chris Mejia at the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department told NBC.