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Hiker Drags Himself for 2 Days After Waterfall Plummet

Considering everything that went wrong, Neil Parker is lucky to be alive
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2019 7:40 AM CDT
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Stock photo.   (Getty Images/paulacobleigh)

(Newser) – "This is not a nice way to die." That was all Neil Parker could think as he dragged himself along the ground on Australia's Mount Nebo after getting injured during a weekend hike. Luckily, the 54-year-old lived to tell the tale of his two-day ordeal, which began Sunday with plans to take a three-hour trek on the mountain outside of Brisbane and be back by lunch, USA Today reports. Instead, everything that could go wrong did. About halfway into his hike, Parker slipped and fell 20 feet down a waterfall, bouncing off a ledge before landing in a deep gully, breaking his left wrist and leaving his left leg "clean snapped in half," he tells the Washington Post. He pulled out his phone to call for help, but there was no signal—and as he tried to put it back in his bag, he dropped it in the water. He hadn't told anyone where he was going and now had no communication: a "worst-case scenario."

But Parker didn't give up. He set his leg in a splint made out of walking poles and bandages and started a painful crawl. "I had to carry my leg, and legs are very heavy when they're not connected to anything," he said. Parker did have snacks and pain meds, and he drank water from a creek; the weather also cooperated. When he didn't show up for work Monday, his boss called his family. A rescue helicopter found Parker Tuesday. He attributes his training as a Brisbane Bushwalkers Club guide as being a big part of his survival, though the club's leader tells CNN that the "very capable and competent" Parker flouted club guidelines by exploring the mountain solo. "Normally, we recommend walking with a minimum of four people," he notes. Parker is just grateful to be alive. "I'm pretty confident that I'll get back out there," he says, per the Post. "It is my nature to be adventurous." (Read more hikers stories.)

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