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Boy, 13, speaks after avoiding major injury in nearly 100-foot Grand Canyon fall

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(NEW YORK) — A 13-year-old boy said he has no permanent injuries after surviving a nearly 100-foot fall into the Grand Canyon last week.

Wyatt Kaufman, who was visiting the Grand Canyon on vacation with his mother, stumbled and fell from Bright Angel Point, a popular trail and photo area on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. The National Park Service said in a statement the boy fell 70-100 feet below the point.

“I almost died. I was like inches away from death at that time,” said Kaufman, who was recently discharged from the hospital.

Kaufman said he was taking pictures and, in an effort to stay out of the way of other visitors, slipped and tumbled down the cliffside.

“I kind of stood up. I lost my grip, and that’s when I started to fall back. I cannot remember anything past that point,” he said.

After high winds rendered a helicopter rescue unfeasible, a search and rescue team used ropes and a stokes basket to raise Kaufman to the rim. Kaufman was flown to a pediatric trauma center for further care, the National Park Service said.

Kauffman said he is tattered and bruised but avoided any serious injury in his fall into the canyon.

“A couple of scars and stuff but otherwise it’s broken bones, that’ll heal and few scratches on my face that’ll heal nothing permanent. I’m not paralyzed. I can walk,” he said.

Kaufman’s luck is not shared by all parkgoers who fall in similar circumstances. In August 2022, a 44-year-old man fell to his death on the North Rim. According to the National Park service, the man was off trail when he fell approximately 200 feet.

Kaufman and his mother are back home in North Dakota and said they are grateful for the lifesaving efforts of everyone involved.

“I want to thank the Park Rangers, the Park, the National Park, everybody that helped me get out of there and help me be able to be alive,” he said.

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