A newly married Dutch couple has narrowly avoided the "till death do us part" portion of their vows, according to the Sri Lankan military, which on Saturday said it rescued a 35-year-old who fell from the country's World's End cliff. AFP reports Mamitho Lendas was the first person to tumble from the top of the 4,000-foot cliff and survive, and he has a tree to thank: It broke his fall a scant 130 to 160 feet (reports vary) from the top, says an army rep. The groom was apparently trying to take a photo of his wife when he backed up and over the cliff. Lendas tells the BBC, "I was making pictures and I had a misstep, and I fell down, backwards, two times." Lonely Planet's entry on the attraction notes there are no safety rails in place and states some have indeed lost their lives at the cliff, which is located in Horton Plains National Park.
Sri Lanka's Hiru News reports the man clung to a tree branch until he could be retrieved; he described it as the "longest three-and-a-half hours of my life." The rescue made use of ropes and 40 soldiers, some of whom carried the man for roughly 3 miles to a point where a vehicle could reach him. Lendas was described as in "stable" condition by an official (indeed, he's standing and talking quite normally in the BBC video). The couple had arrived in Sri Lanka six days after their wedding; his bride tells the BBC she's "so happy" he's alive, and the couple expresses their thanks to "Kent from Canada," who apparently talked to Lendas throughout his ordeal. (In October, an Ohio groom died roughly three hours after his wedding.)