‘I’m going to die’: hiker remembers harrowing evening trapped beneath 10,000lb boulder

‘I’m going to die’: hiker remembers harrowing evening trapped beneath 10,000lb boulder

A hiker who spent hours trapped and badly injured beneath a virtually 10,000lb boulder on a distant California mountainside has spoken out in regards to the ordeal, saying he thought to himself: “I’m going to die up right here.”

Kevin DePaolo was mountain climbing with a pal within the Inyo mountains earlier this month when the rock unexpectedly dislodged, he instructed the New York Instances in certainly one of his first interviews for the reason that accident on 5 December.

It crushed his legs and got here to a cease on his proper leg. The mishap left DePaolo caught with critical accidents and intense ache for 10 hours, and required an enormous effort by rescuers to free him.

DePaolo, an skilled hiker, stated he was digging within the sand on a hillside close to Santa Rita Flat in search of rocks when the boulder got here unfastened and landed on him, which he stated felt like “getting hit by a fridge”. His pal, Joshua Nelson rushed to DePaolo’s assist, utilizing a pickaxe to attempt to forestall the boulder from additional crushing him.

Nelson was capable of free DePaolo’s badly injured left leg, which had been torn open, exposing muscular tissues and bone.

Authorities deployed Inyo county search and rescue to assist free DePaolo. Crews arrived within the space after darkish, round 10pm, and located DePaolo trapped by a boulder weighing between 6,000 and 10,000lb.

They used a system of ropes and pulleys to maneuver the boulder sufficient to free DePaolo, the search and rescue crew stated in a assertion. After assessing his accidents, rescuers decided he wanted to be evacuated instantly.

A helicopter from a US naval air station arrived to move DePaolo to a hospital. A US navy medic rappelled from the helicopter and introduced him up into the car. He was transported to a hospital in Fresno.

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DePaolo’s pelvis was cracked in two locations and the femoral artery in his left leg was severed. He might have nerve harm, however he didn’t break any bones in his legs and docs had been capable of save his leg. In just a few months, he’ll be capable to stroll once more, he instructed the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I’m simply extraordinarily grateful to be alive,” he instructed the Instances.

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