Don’t go chasing waterfalls.
A UK woman who survived falling 80 feet from a waterfall has defied the odds for a second time after learning to walk again. Her harrowing tale was featured in a Thursday episode of the British docuseries “999: Critical Condition.”
“I thought there was no way she’d survive,” James, whose last name was withheld, told Liverpool Echo of the fiasco, which occurred in August while he and girlfriend Cara Sutton were exploring Coed-y-Brenin forest in Snowdonia National Park, North Wales. The 26-year-old Aigburth native had recovered from COVID and wanted to get back into the outdoors.
However, disaster struck after the pharmacist slipped on a rock around 16-feet from the edge of a waterfall and went over the side.
“I remember James shouting to be careful as I fell,” recounted Sutton of her terrifying plunge. “I was sliding all over the place and tried to grab some moss to stop myself but it just ripped off.”
She added, “The edge was behind me so I didn’t realize I was about to fall until I saw the cliff go past me.”
Her aghast boyfriend tried in vain to save his imperiled paramour as she plummeted and nearly followed her over the falls.
“I scrambled and managed not to go over the edge,” recalled James, who subsequently “shouted for help three times at the top of my lungs and started sprinting back down the path.”
However, due to the extreme nature of the fall, he “believed there was no way she could’ve survived a fall from that height and expected the worst.”
First responders subsequently whisked Sutton out of the ravine and off to the hospital, where doctors discovered that she’d suffered a broken spine, shattered pelvis and collapsed lung.
Nonetheless, medics said she was “lucky to be alive,” according to James, who chalked up her incredible survival to the fact that she was wearing a helmet.
Consultant Dr. Richard Fawcett also found the incident miraculous, saying, “This is a fatal fall, there’s lots of rocks and boulders, so really hard landing and that is a height that can kill someone.”
Despite escaping death, Sutton was forced to undergo emergency surgery to repair her spine and organs, Liverpool Echo reported. She then spent months in the hospital learning how to walk again.
Thankfully, with the help of family and friends, the courageous gal was up and moving in time for her brother Jacob to visit during Christmas from Australia. Sutton was released from the hospital on Nov. 9 — a mere two-and-a-half months after being initially admitted — and is now doing physical therapy to regain her strength.
“I’m generally pretty well considering what I’ve been through and the other day I managed to walk 10K,” exclaimed the hardy woman, who credits her miraculous recovery to the doctors.
“It’s absolutely amazing how well they were able to put me back together again,” said the grateful outdoorswoman. “I definitely could have died but they saved my life.”
Sutton even hopes to get back to having outdoor “adventures” in the near future, although she says she won’t be walking up cliffs anytime soon.
In a similarly incredible incident in October, a 4-year-old boy emerged virtually unscathed after plummeting 70 feet down into a gorge in Kentucky.