David Finlayson, aged 52, had been off on two weeks of vacation backpacking in the remote River of No Return area of Idaho with his 13-year-old son Charlie when disaster struck.
On the 17th of August, the young teenager and his father had been walking near Ship Island Lake, Idaho when a boulder became loose and barrelled down the rocky incline straight towards them.
“It was just dumb luck” the older Finlayson said. “It didn’t come off too far above me, so it wasn’t rolling too fast.”
But it was enough to cause damage to the father. The falling rock was heavy enough to cause him to pass out. It broke a section of his left arm, his back and his heel. He also had a deep wound in his leg, which had left bone exposed.
Charlie, the son, acted quickly. He dressed David’s wounds as best he could, and tried to keep his dad hydrated.
“If the boulder had landed on me, I’d be dead for sure,” David told Good Morning America. “He would repel, anchor, lower me, repel, anchor, lower me all day long to get me to the bottom of the crags,” he added in reference to his son’s heroism.
Two days after his fall, David sent Charlie to seek help. He had written a note explaining the situation. This led to a rescue being staged. A helicopter was sent for his dad and hovered while David was packaged in a stretcher and hoisted out. He was transported to the hospital, where he has two operations, and is set for further surgery.
David is now taking a little bit of time off from his adventurous ways and has said that the next trip they take will be to the beach. Charlie said that he will be making sure he’ll bring a radio to call for help in future trips.