A man fell 25 feet off of a bluff near Hawksbill Crag in Newton County on Saturday. He was flown by a medical helicopter to Fayetteville and continues his recovery.
Three teenage boys were out hiking near the site at the time, and an emergency responder said they may have saved the man’s life.
Scott Henrie was out hiking with his girlfriend when they met up with Austin Collins, Collins’ brother Andrew and their friend.
The group hiked past Hawksbill Crag to an overhang near a waterfall. Collins said he and his brother walked 15 feet below the overhang and looked up in time to see Henrie fall.
“I’ve heard stories about people falling off Hawksbill Crag, but I never thought that I would actually be there when something happened,” Collins said.
He said his first instinct was to get to Henrie. Collins said he and his brother Andrew ran down a path about 10 feet then had to jump from a ledge to get to Henrie.
Henrie was pinned between two rocks and was bleeding heavily from a large gash on his forehead, Collins said. Henrie was drifting in and out of consciousness.
The 19 year olds had first-aid kits in their backpacks. Collins said he has been a Boy Scout and Eagle Scout for many years and that he knew basic first aid.
“We bandaged his head and tried to stop the bleeding and kept his neck still,” Collins said.
Henrie’s injuries could have been life-threatening if the teens had not been there, said Glenn Wheeler, a team leader for Newton County Search and Rescue.
After an hour-and-a-half, another hiker came to help. Collins said the man had military medical experience and helped stabilize Henrie.
Wheeler said 51 emergency responders came to the scene to help get Henrie to safety.
“It’s so manpower intensive because once we lifted him to the top of the bluff, we had to physically carry him out to the ambulance,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler said Henrie went by ambulance to a helicopter. He was then airlifted to Washington Regional Medical Center.
Collins said he has heard from Henrie’s girlfriend since the accident and she said he suffered a broken arm and a concussion.
Collins said he doesn’t consider himself a hero.
“I don’t think we are heroes. I think we are just lucky we were there, and I think the actual heroes are the people who actually stabilized him and managed to get him out of there,” Collins said.
Wheeler said the search and rescue team had a busy day that Saturday (April 19).
“On the day this happened, we had three people fall from bluffs in a matter of 12 hours in Newton County,” Wheeler said.
He said the Hawkbill Crag and Buffalo River area are a popular place to hike in the spring and summer months. He said they get multiple calls each year of people injuring themselves and requiring ambulance service.