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Hikers tell tale after being rescued off Mount Mansfield - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Hikers tell tale after being rescued off Mount Mansfield

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STOWE, Vt. -

Two people were rescued off Mount Mansfield. One fell more than 100 feet into a gully. The other got trapped. Two of the four hikers are now retelling their harrowing tale.

We think it can't happen to us, not me, not this time.

"People tend to think that they're invincible, or they can't get hurt or it can't happen to you but anything can happen to you," said Eldon Beck, 16-year-old hiker.

Beck learned his lesson on Saturday night, a night in which he and three friends, decided to climb Mount Mansfield.

On their way down the mountain, a slip on the wet rocks sent Eldon and his friend Ricky Wetherell tumbling down a rocky embankment.

When Beck stopped, he says Wetherell kept falling over 150 feet below into a gully.

"He lost his footing. He started sliding and I tried to grab him. That caused me to slide with him and me and him both slid about 30 feet. I stopped about 4 feet before the ledge and Ricky kept going," said Beck.

Wetherell was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock, but Beck had to wait.

For nearly eight hours, Beck sat on rocks waiting to be rescued, not knowing the condition of his fallen friend below.

"You just have to sit there with your thoughts. You can't really do anything about it and you know your friend's hurt. It's not a good feeling at all," said Beck.

After the fall, Beck called for help to his friends below. Sensing the terrain was too dangerous, they turned back before reaching the top of the mountain.

Jacob Gates recalls feeling helpless when he realized he could only yell to Wetherell who lied trapped above.

"He was in a gully that nobody could get to. It was a very helpless feeling because there was nothing I could do besides talk to him," said Gates.

The two now consider themselves lucky. Wetherell sustained a head injury and fractured pelvis. Beck walked away with just scratches.

"Nothing like this has ever happened to me. So it's pretty hard," said Beck.

But what could have resulted in far greater tragedy now is just a tough lesson learned.

Wetherell was transferred from the Intensive Care Unit at Fletcher Allen Health Care. The hospital is expected to release him within the next week.

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Mountain rescue ends safely in Smuggler's Notch






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