When you’ve lost your way in the wild, it’s easy to run the worst-case scenario through your head.
What if they don’t find me? What if I never see my parents again? I have so much living left to do. All of these things were probably running through 25-year-old registered nurse Amber Kornhurst’s head on May 20. She had flown into Utah from Minnesota to participate in a volunteer solo hike for the Best Friends Animal Society when she became lost.
What was meant to be a short hike to watch the sunset turned into a nightmare.
Amber lost her footing on a trail and fell about 100 feet onto the edge of an 800-foot cliff. She blacked out during the fall, but when she came to, she couldn’t move, but still tried to use her phone.
There was no service.
The following morning, the owners of the bed-and-breakfast where she was staying noticed that she hadn’t slept in her bed, and her car was exactly where she’d left it the previous day. Concerned, they called the police and rescue crews were dispatched to find her.
Meanwhile, Amber lay helpless: Her back had been fractured, pelvis crushed, nose broken, and part of an ear had been sheared off.
“I thought, ‘At least if I die today, I’ve done what makes me happy,’ but I would feel so bad for my family and that’s what kept going through my head,'” she recalled.
Hikers are always advised to carry an emergency whistle to help rescuers find them in case they get lost, and fortunately, Amber had one. Around 7 p.m., she heard the rescue helicopter searching overhead and started blowing the whistle as loudly as she could.
“I knew this was my one chance to be rescued,” she said. “If they found me, I lived. If they didn’t find me, I don’t know.”
They spotted her and airlifted her out. But rescuers found much more than a broken body; Amber had written a goodbye letter to her parents: “Mom and dad, I’m watching and yelling. Nope. It’s [sic] the end. <3”
She’s since been discharged from the ICU and is working toward recovery. Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover the costs of her medical care and travel back to Minnesota.
Watch the video below to hear more about this incredible rescue and Amber’s amazing recovery. Share to spread joy that this ordeal had a happy ending!