GOLD BAR -- Swept down one waterfall and about to plunge over a much larger one, a 13-year-old boy managed to climb onto a 1-foot-wide rock in a gushing river — and then stayed there for eight and a half hours until rescuers finally saved him early Sunday morning, sheriff's officials said.
The teen was out hiking with his father and his father's friend at about 5 p.m. Saturday, when he began wading in the river above Wallace Falls, at a popular state park near Gold Bar. The top of the falls is a steep, nearly 3-mile hike from the trailhead.
The boy slipped on some rocks, and the water carried him down a 10-foot waterfall. Just before he would have fallen over the 270-foot main attraction, he scrambled to the rock, five yards from shore.
“He was on that one rock for all those hours,” Snohomish County Sheriff's Lt. Suzy Johnson said. “He's a pretty lucky kid.”
Rescuers first tried to reach him by helicopter, but a rock overhang prevented them from getting a clear shot at reaching him. The first rescuer lowered down and tried to swing to the boy, but the friction from the rock ledge cut the rope, and the rescuer plunged into the river. His secondary rope kept him from going over the falls, and he made it to the river bank with only minor injuries.
Others hiked up to the scene to find the boy standing on the rock, wet and hypothermic. They threw him dry clothes and food and set up a rigging that would allow them to rescue him.
They finally got him off the rock at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. The 10 rescuers camped with him overnight, and they were flown out by helicopter at 6 a.m.
The name of the boy, who is from the south Seattle suburb of Burien, was not immediately released. He did not require immediate medical attention but was going to be checked by a doctor later Sunday.
None of the rescuers was immediately available for an interview. The sheriff's lieutenant said they'd been sent home for some well-deserved rest.
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