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‘Legs Are Very Heavy When They’re Not Connected to Anything’



An Australian hiker who fell 20 feet down a waterfall said he had to “carry his leg” while crawling for nearly two miles over the course of two days before he was rescued.

Neil Parker, 54, from the state of Queensland, was walking alone on Mount Nebo—a mountain located around 11 miles northwest of the city of Brisbane on Australia’s east coast—when he fell, The Brisbane Times reported.

“I started sliding down the face of the rock and I slid about 20 foot, cartwheeled, then slammed into the rock then landed in the creek at the bottom,” Parker, an experienced bushwalker, said from his hospital bed.

“Straight away I thought: ‘Now I am in a lot of trouble, nobody knows where I am, I don’t have a personal location beacon.'”

Parker broke his leg and wrist in the fall. Furthermore, his phone was rendered unusable after being soaked in water so he couldn’t call for help.

“My left foot just below my ankle, clean snapped in half,” Parker said, The Guardian reported. “The whole bottom of my leg came loose.”

“It’s not a compound fracture. Close to it. It didn’t break the skin but I have what’s called compound blisters on my skin which are eight or nine inches long… I had to carry my leg, and legs are very heavy when they’re not connected to anything,” he said.

Parker saw a search-and-rescue helicopter flying above the area where had fallen on Sunday night, but he realized that he was never going to be spotted unless he dragged himself to a more open spot.

He used his hiking sticks to fashion a makeshift splint for his injured leg and began painstakingly crawling out of the creek

“I could only get a meter [3.2 feet] or a meter-and-a-half each time before I had to stop. It was only three kilometers [1.86 miles]… but two days to cover three kilometers, I thought I was never going to get there.”

“What took me 40 minutes to walk up, took me two days to crawl down,” he said.

In terms of supplies, Parker only had some nuts and a handful of other snacks to eat. However, he did have a plentiful supply of medication.

“I had medication. I had painkillers in my pack. And I was able to put that to great use when it was needed,” he said. “People in the [Brisbane Bushwalkers Club] ask, ‘Why would you carry 10 kilograms of equipment every time you go for a walk?’ This is the reason why. It’s good to have it.”

On Monday a search mission to find Parker was launched by his family and the Brisbane Bushwalkers community. He was finally spotted by a rescue helicopter on Tuesday, which airlifted him to a hospital in Brisbane. He is likely to remain there for at least the next two weeks.

Mount Nebo
View from Mount Nebo near Brisbane, Australia.

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