Boy survives 400-foot fall in Washington state canyon

Image source, Mason County Sheriff’s Office

Legend, Local police released footage of the rescue, which involved a harness.

  • Author, James FitzGerald
  • Role, BBC News

A Washington state teenager survived a 400-foot fall into a canyon with only “minimal injuries,” police say.

He was rescued in a “safe and successful operation”, officers added in their weekend Facebook post. They released footage of the mission, during which the team used a harness on the nearby High Steel Bridge.

Local firefighters said the person involved was 19 years old and was “incredibly lucky” to be alive.

The teenager – whose identity has not been made public – was believed to have been hiking when he fell.

“He was walking through a spillway that a lot of people use, and it kind of became a trail,” said Matthew Wealander, the fire chief.

“It’s not a trail. It’s a washout, it’s too steep.”

“And (he) ended up sliding down to the river,” Mr. Wealander told reporters at the scene.

The teen was taken to a hospital for evaluation, NBC News reported.

Authorities have advised people not to hike in the area, which they describe as dangerous for walkers and rescuers. Several people die there every year and a few suicides are also reported in the region.

“We’ve been telling people to stay off these trails because they are dangerous, but they either haven’t seen the warning signs or are ignoring them,” said a police officer involved in the rescue.

The High Steel Bridge – which was used by rescuers to recover the teenager – spans the Skokomish River and was once home to a railroad track.

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