Injured hiker describes how he survived 4-day ordeal in wilderness

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PORT ANGELES, Wash. - A hiker who was stranded in a remote ravine for nearly four days after he fell and broke his ankle told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News his experience in the woods and preparation helped him survive.

 

Tim Bailey, of Mountlake Terrace, said he was on a 36-mile hike across Olympic National Park on Saturday when he went off the trail, fell 150 feet and shattered his ankle.

 

A Coast Guard helicopter lifted him to safety on Wednesday night.

 

"I was just praying at the top of my lungs that they would hear me, that they would see me," Bailey told reporter Gary Horcher from his hospital bed, hours after his rescue.

 

While stuck in the wilderness near Crescent Lake, Bailey said he knew his left ankle was broken, and he immediately took action to protect himself and get help.

 

He made his own splint for his ankle and he built a big fire -- with green wood to make extra smoke -- to be more visible.

 

Bailey was reported missing on Sunday, but it took three days for search crews to spot him.

 

He had a pistol. When search crews heard sounds of gunshots, they sent the Coast Guard chopper toward the sound. The chopper crew saw Bailey's fire.

 

"When I heard that helicopter, I was in my tent. I leaped out, I ran out and I was standing in the middle of the stream, waving my bright blue sleeping mattress over my head," he said.

 

Bailey said his faith helped him keep himself smart, centered and avoiding panic.

 

He said he's thankful for the search and rescue people who made it possible for him to tell his story of survival.