Teen Falls Down Alaska Mountain While on Phone

Cherelle LaGrou was telling mom how nervous the conditions made her
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2014 8:12 AM CDT
Teen Falls Down Alaska Mountain While on Phone
A view of Denali National Park in the distance.   (AP Photo/Matt Hage)

A 2013 study suggested distracted walking could be more dangerous than distracted driving; Cherelle LaGrou is likely to agree. The Washington teen was hiking alone in Alaska on Sunday when she slid down a mountainside near Denali National Park. Well, not exactly alone. The 18-year-old was talking to her mother on her cell phone—and telling her that she was unnerved by the slippery conditions, no less—when she fell 30 feet. Her mother heard a scream, and then nothing, she tells the AP. "We were on the phone together (about 15 minutes) when the ground went out from under her," mom Shelly adds to the Omak Chronicle. "She was hysterical and did not know what happened."

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports things could have been worse: LaGrou was somehow able to stop her descent at the edge of a cliff, below which was a 60-foot drop. Says Shelly, "I am not sure what she found to get a finger hold to stop herself in the slide." The teen found herself stuck on the cliff edge with her feet slipping, and called her dad, who alerted her employer (she's working as a housekeeper at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge), who then contacted troopers. The rescue took roughly 45 minutes, though her parents weren't on the line with her for all of it: Her cell battery died about 30 minutes after the fall. But they'll be able to see it: It was filmed and will air on the National Geographic Channel's Alaska State Troopers, likely in the fall. The teen emerged with only minor scratches. (It's not the week's worst cell phone-related story: Two people died trying to recover a phone from a toilet.)

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