posted by dpm on 10/31/2013
Big-wall climbing veteran Ammon McNeely barely escaped with his life after a serious base-jumping accident near Moab, Utah earlier this week. Speaking on the Supertopo forum, Ammon McNeely outlines the string of poor decisions that led to the accident including new brake lines and jumping from a new exit that he had no experience with. In detail, he describes the jump:
“I jumped, probably took a tad longer delay than I should have, being it was a new exit with new brake lines and immediately had a 180 degree opening. I struck the cliff with my left foot and continued rag dolling down the cliff where I finally came to rest on a sloping ledge. I knew I was banged up but to my utter surprise my foot was flipped on its side looking very similar to a nalgene bottle with just a sliver of skin keeping it on.”
“Blood was squirting everywhere and I knew my only option was to somehow tourniquet it to stop the bleeding. I used my bridal (a flat piece of webbing) that attaches my pilot chute and canopy to wrap the ankle just above the open wound. I then used a stick and propelled it tighter and tighter until the spurts subsided. I yelled down that I needed a helicopter ASAP and that I lost my foot and might bleed out.”
Within 45 minutes, Ammon’s friends had reached him, drilled a bolt anchor, and set fixed lines for the Moab SAR team which likely saved his life. He says that he’d lost 3 pints of blood by the time the helicopter got him to the hospital and that he was “very close to leaving this world.” According to Ammon, the doctors were able to save his foot.
As any hard man would do if stranded on a cliffside with a video camera and severed leg, Ammon recorded the carnage and posted it on youtube. WARNING! The footage is disturbing, grotesque, and gut-wrenching but hey, it’s Halloween. Watch it if you dare.