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As rescuers at the top set up a system to pull McEntire 750 feet out of a Sedona canyon, rescuers waiting with him did what they could to comfort him.

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Surviving your worst nightmare

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.


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