A boy fell 30 to 60 feet down a popular waterfall along the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina on Monday — but he lived to tell about it, an emergency official said.
"He is a very fortunate young man," Cody Parton, assistant emergency management coordinator for Haywood County told the Observer on Tuesday.
Other visitors have been paralyzed or otherwise seriously injured after slipping and falling off the lower and upper falls along the Graveyard Fields loop trail in Canton over the years, Parton said. He said he knew of no fatalities.
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The boy was hiking with family and friends when he slipped and tumbled down the lower falls, Parton told the Observer.
The boy, who is 12, fell at about 4 p.m., Asheville ABC-TV affiliate WLOS reported. The boy was taken to Mission Hospital in Asheville, according to the station.
Parton said the boy had already been taken out of the water by his family and friends when rescuers arrived. He was alert and talking before being taken to the hospital in stable condition, according to Parton.
Signs in the parking lot and elsewhere warn visitors of the potential for slipping on rocks and falling at the upper and lower falls, Parton said. Emergency officials also warn of the danger through public service messages, he said.
It's best to view waterfalls from a distance, Parton advised.
He credited the quick response from Cruso Fire and Rescue, the Haywood County Search and Rescue teams and Haywood County Emergency Services for stabilizing the boy and getting him to the hospital.
The name "Graveyard Fields" comes from a time when "a great windstorm felled hundreds of spruce and fir trees in the area," according to the National Park Service. "The moss-covered stumps resemble graves."
Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak