A sightseeing trip to Glen Falls almost ended in tragedy last weekend for a 16-year-old boy in Franklin, North Carolina. When the boy slipped on some rocks he plummeted over the falls, breaking two vertebrae and sustaining a mild brain injury.
Jason Jackson, a rising junior who just wanted to enjoy his summer, visited Glen Falls in Nantahala National Forest with his grandmother on Wednesday. Hoping to get a better view of the falls and the Appalachian Mountains, Jackson joined a few other hikers in the shallow waters above the falls when he slipped on some rocks and was then taken over the falls by the current.
The young man fell an estimated 70 feet, surviving a slip and fall that rescue workers say usually end fatally. The boy bounced off a number of rocks before landing – impacts that caused a number of injuries but that also probably saved his life. Paramedics placed him on a board and carried him off of the hiking trail and to an awaiting helicopter, which transported him to a nearby Asheville, North Carolina Hospital. He suffered several serious back injuries, a severe concussion, and other less serious but painful injuries, such as a stick that was lodged several inches into his heel.
Jackson returned home in a back brace and will be on bed rest for several months as he recovers from his injuries, although many of his less serious scrapes and bruises are already healing.
“They said it was a miracle because they usually pull them out dead,” his grandmother said.