January 27, 2012
It took rescuers more than four hours to pull McEntire up Insomnia Canyon and to a safe location where a helicopter could pick him up. Rescuers used a pulley system to hoist him up. For every five feet they pulled, McEntire rose one foot.
Stories this photo appears in:
150-foot fall into canyon leads to months of surgeries, therapy
With his pelvis shattered, his body paralyzed, his pain nearly unbearable, Mike McEntire watched the helicopter make one final pass before flying off, leaving him alone in impending darkness. He knew somehow he must survive the night. But in his darkest hours, his fate rested on his will to live and the skill of rescuers, risking everything to reach him — for as he lay at the bottom of the canyon, he was not alone. Rescuers and friends would put their lives at risk, climbing down waterfalls, rappelling over shear cliffs and hiking through pitch darkness to reach him and offer some comfort until morning came. In the 18 hours McEntire waited for help, the comfort that someone was coming helped him hold on. While McEntire, a retired Payson dentist, never wanted to come so close to death for a little adventure, he still believes that a life lived to the fullest means risk, whatever the consequence.