MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota nurse survived a 100 foot tumble down an Arizona cliff. It took more than 24 hours for rescuers to find Amber Kohnhorst She fell while hiking at the Cane Beds near the Utah border on Friday.
“My face is bruised and my butt hurts the most,” Kohnhorst said.
Kohnhorst had surgery to put pins in her tailbone and she broke her back, but she’s alive. She remembers being panicked she was lost and losing daylight, and then:
“I think it was an initial 12 foot drop and then I just kept rolling so when I woke up it was dark and I was alone for about 28 hours by myself,” Kohnhorst said.
Kohnhorst thinks back to the harrowing time she spent frightened in an unfamiliar canyon. Hoping the couple she rented an Airbnb room from would notice.
“In my head I just prayed,” Kohnhorst said.
The 25-year-old Mayo Clinic nurse was determined to get out. She tried to climb her way out of the canyon. In excruciating pain, the seriousness of her situation sunk in.
“I took pictures of myself and I sent messages to my parents because I thought if I was going to die I wanted them to have a goodbye. So I wrote letters to my parents and I just waited. I couldn’t escape the canyon,” Kohnhorst said.
During that time a team of 100 were out looking for her, with air rescue teams nearby.
“When I finally realized it was them and it wasn’t my imagination I started blowing my whistle like crazy. Thank God I had the rescue team I did, they had the training. They pulled me out in a rope harness, it took 7 hours,” Kohnhorst said.
Doctors told her will be 6 weeks before she can walk, with a three-month recovery time. Her advice after this experience: don’t hike alone, and bring a whistle.
Friend set up a GoFundMe account to help with medical bills and for Amber’s travel home when she is able to. Click here to learn how you can help.