An Australian hiker spent two harrowing days crawling to safety, carrying his own broken leg, after falling 19 feet down a waterfall on Sunday.
Neil Parker, 54, opened up about the horrifying experience, telling news.com.au that he was hiking the trail at Cabbage Tree Creek on Mt. Nebo when he slipped and fractured his leg and wrist.
“My left foot just below my ankle, clean snapped in half,” Parker told the local outlet. “So the whole bottom of my leg came loose.”
Making matters even worse, Parker also dropped his cell phone in a creek, preventing him from calling for help.
“I had to carry my leg, and legs are very heavy when they’re not connected to anything, and trying to pick it up and get over rocks,” Parker explained to news.com.au.
Because of his condition, Parker’s journey to safety was long and slow.
“I would get about a meter, a meter-and-a-half before I needed a break,” he told the outlet.
While he shared the hike was only supposed to take him three hours, he admitted it was a mistake to not tell anyone about his solo mission.
“A lot of things I did wrong. I didn’t tell anyone where I was going and I didn’t have an EPIRB (emergency beacon),” he told news.com.au.
Parker explained he usually carries the device — which helps authorities locate a person in distress — on all of his trips, but the one he had stayed with his ex-wife when they split. He told news.com.au that he hadn’t replaced it by the time of his hike.
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Nonetheless, Parker was still determined to embark on the hike as he’s done so many times before. He’s a member of the Brisbane Bushwalkers — a group of “from diverse backgrounds who enjoy outdoor adventure.”
“I climbed the waterfall many times before, and this time, with it being so dry, the lichen on the rock, instead of sticking, slipped and gave away,” Parker shared with the outlet. “I slid about 20 feet, cartwheeled and slammed into the rock and then landed in the creek on the bottom.”
When asked what motivated him to keep crawling, despite the agonizing pain he was in, Parker said his children.
“I was getting very emotional thinking this is not a nice way to die, just lying here,” he told news.com.au.
Parker revealed to The Guardian that he survived by eating protein barks and painkillers.
“I had medication,” he told The Guardian. “I had painkillers — Panadol and Nurofen in my pack. And I was able to put that to great use when it was needed. People in the club ask, ‘Why would you carry 10 kilos of equipment every time you go for a walk?’ This is the reason why. It’s good to have it.”
The Queensland Government Air Service revealed on Facebook on Tuesday that Parker was rescued after a helicopter spotted him.
“He was located by QGair crew under a tree in a small clearing nearing the end of our first search. He was winched to the helicopter and flown to hospital for further treatment.”
Parker is expected to undergo surgery on Wednesday at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital.