Miracle survival of hiker who crawled to safety 'carrying broken leg'

18 September 2019, 11:03 | Updated: 25 October 2019, 15:04

Neil Parker fell down a 20 foot waterfall when he was out bushwalking
Neil Parker fell down a 20 foot waterfall when he was out bushwalking. Picture: Facebook
Maddie Goodfellow

By Maddie Goodfellow

An Australian hiker who was injured after falling down a 20 foot waterfall had to "carry" his broken leg as he desperately crawled in search of help.

Earlier today the QGAir Brisbane Rescue Helicopter, Rescue 500,was tasked to the Mt Nebo area to search for a bushwalker who had been missing since Sunday. The bushwalker had fallen from a waterfall and had sustained serious injuries. He was located by QGAir crew under a tree in a small clearing nearing the end of our first search. Our patient crawled to this position over 2 days in significant pain and was lucky to be found. He was winched to the helicopter and flown to hospital for further treatment. Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) Queensland Police Service #thisisrsq #rescue500 #Rescuehelicopter

Posted by Queensland Government Air on Monday, 16 September 2019

54-year-old Neil Parker was injured when bushwalking near Brisbane after suffering the fall. He says he had to crawl 3 kilometres with a broken leg and wrist before being rescued.

Mr Parker was out walking alone when he slipped down a waterfall, leaving his wrist broken and his lower leg "clean snapped in half".

Mr Parker lost his phone in the fall, and decided his best chance of being rescued was to drag himself to a clearing.

He said the journey to the clearing was agonisingly slow.

"I'd get about a metre, a metre-and-a-half, each time before I had to stop and take a break," he told reporters from his hospital bed on Wednesday.

"I just couldn't believe it. It's only 3km but it took two days to cover 3km. I was thinking that I was never going to get there."

Neil Parker was walking in the Australian bush when he fell and broke his leg
Neil Parker was walking in the Australian bush when he fell and broke his leg. Picture: PA

Mr Parker was undertaking a three-hour hike at Mount Nebo when he fell down the waterfall.

"I slid about 20 feet, cartwheeled and slammed into the rock and then landed in the creek on the bottom," he said.

"And I thought, 'the only way to get rescued is self-rescue.'"

The bushwalker had already packed first aid supplies, and used bandages and hiking sticks to splint his leg.

He also had painkillers and access to water, but only nuts, sweets and an energy bar to keep him going.

Mr Parker said: "I had to carry my leg, and legs are very heavy when they're not connected to anything, and I was trying to pick it up and get over rock and then use this elbow and this arm and just constantly struggling."

He said thinking of his family gave him the mental strength to keep going, saying: "I wanted to be around for my kids."

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