'Falling 1,000 Feet From a Trail Is No Joke'

Hiker Ian Snyder, missing for 3 days in Hawaii, is found bruised and with broken bones, but alive
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2023 8:51 AM CST

A California man rescued last week after vanishing while on a Hawaiian hike is now revealing details about his three-day ordeal. Ian Snyder had headed out on Oahu's Koolau Summit Trail on Dec. 4, but he never returned at day's end, reports USA Today. In a press conference, the 34-year-old father of three explains that he'd relied on Google's mapping for his hike, which took him into a treacherous area from which he ended up plummeting 1,000 feet. He ended up at the base of a waterfall, where he remained until he was found on Thursday, drinking nothing but water from a nearby stream while he hoped for help to arrive.

Once family realized he was missing, Snyder's sister was able to help rescuers close in on his approximate location by reviewing video and a selfie of his hike he'd posted on social media before his fall, reports Hawaii News Now. A Honolulu Fire Department helicopter was dispatched, and crew eventually spotted Snyder. One paramedic says he braced himself for the worst—"falling 1,000 feet from a trail is no joke"—but instead, a bruised and dehydrated Snyder, who had multiple broken bones, was found.

Hospitalized for three days, Snyder is amazed himself he lived to tell the tale. "I couldn't believe it when people were telling me, 'You fell a thousand feet down the cliff,'" he said, per ABC News. "And I'm like, 'How did I even survive?'" He also said that, at one point during his nightmare, while scooping water out of the stream, "I had a deep sense of calm." He noted that even though he never completely gave up hope, "I'd made my peace with God." Snyder says now that he'll never hike alone again. (More uplifting news stories.)

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