The man who fell down Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park last Friday is out of the hospital.
"It was a miracle I did live. I should have died right then," said Josh Reichert, who still has casts on both of his legs. “I decided I’m going to live and swim.”
Josh Reichert, 30, fell over three waterfalls, more than 70 feet. The fall was caught on camera; another park visitor filmed on her cellphone as Reichert slipped and tumbled down the falls. You can hear his wife screaming in the background as the Lynnwood man kept falling.
"He fell in front of my eyes, " said his wife, Katrin Kim, "I think he's dead."
Reichert knows he made a mistake and wants to warn other hikers, "Just wait for the damn ranger."
He said he jumped to a rock in the middle of the falls and thought he'd be able to get back out. When he realized he was stuck he tested the water to see if he could get across. He was quickly swept away.
Officials say Reichert went under a log and down another waterfall, eventually pulling himself out of the river. He was found around 70 feet down a steep embankment.
"I was like 'Wow I'm alive. I'm okay. I made it.’ I didn't realize it was a triple falls," said Reichert.
Clallam 2 Fire and Rescue sent a High Angle trained EMT to evaluate Reichert. He had injuries to his legs and feet. First responders said hypothermia was a big concern. The fall happened around 5:30 p.m. and the rescue took 9.5 hours.
First responders arrived with medical gear, kept Reichert warm with a sleeping bag, blankets and a camp-stove and then assisted him out.
Rescuers said his initial vitals were good.
Callam 2 Fire and Rescue EMT Nate Thompson waited with Reichert for hours as high angle rescuers figured out the best way to rescue him from the steep ravine.
Olympic Mountain Rescue rigged up a basket, and descended down the steep embankment. The rest of the crew pulled them up.
Rangers put wheels under the basket and wheeled Reichert back along the trail. They got back to the trail head around 3 a.m. Reichert was taken to Olympic Medical Center and then taken by ambulance to Harborview Medical Center.
Reichert had two surgeries on his injured feet and was released from the hospital Thursday. His recovery is expected to take three months.
He wants to thank the rescuers who saved him.
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