A ten-year-old boy takes a terrifying plunge in Oregon after falling 60 feet down a steep embankment at Silver Falls State Park. His dad says a loose railing is to blame. FOX's Sophie Soong has the story.
It has been the longest 24 hours of Liam Pelot's life.
"When I saw him laying there face down in the water, you can't get any worse felling than that," Pelot said.
What started as a fun family trip yesterday afternoon quickly turned into a nightmare. Liam, along with his wife and two sons went for a hike at Silver Falls State Park.
When they got near the South Falls, 10-year-old Wilson leaned against this metal railing but it gave way and the boy fell down the hill.
"I just heard my wife scream. I turned around and she said Wilson just fell over the edge. I don't know where he went," Pelot said.
Liam and his oldest son Murphy went after Wilson while other hikers called 911.
"I just went down to see if he was okay and luckily he was in shallow water so I took him out of the water," Murphy said.
Wilson was taken to the ICU with a bruised spleen, back injuries and a cut to his head that required 9 staples.
"I thought he was dead to be honest with you," Liam said.
A spokesman with the Oregon State Parks and Recreation says railings at Silver Falls are inspected every year. They say the railings vary in age - some are decades old. The one that gave way in Wilson's fall is from the 50s.
The spokesman says a rock had knocked the railing loose last month and crews had flagged it for repair.
Liam says there were small pieces of orange tape on the railing. He thought it was to warn against erosion or ice.
"There was no indication that a repair was needed or that the railing was broken or faulty," Liam said.
Oregon State Parks and Rec have since put up caution tape. They're now re-evaluating to see if they need better warnings and speedier repair work.
"It needs to be fixed or closed because if it's not safe then it shouldn't be used," Liam said.
Wilson is said to be in good condition. Pediatric surgeons said he does not need surgery. He'll continue his recovery at Doerbecher Children's Hospital for the next several days.
"Hey everybody, I love you and thank gosh I survived. And I hope to see you soon," Wilson said.
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