A camper in the Red River Gorge is lucky to be alive after he reportedly sleepwalked off a cliff on Thursday.
Wolfe County rope technician John May, who attended the scene of the potentially fatal accident, told reporters “He fell approximately 60 feet, landed in an area that was littered with large boulders.”
Meanwhile, Powell County Emergency Management told FOX 56 that the Cincinnati man was camping on a cliff near Grey’s Arch Trail with friends who contacted emergency services at 1:15 a.m. to report the incident.
“The campers who were with him found him at the bottom of a 60-foot cliff. The individual has a history of sleepwalking. So camping on a cliff ledge, that’s probably what led to this incident,” May said.
It took Powell County Search and Rescue and the Wolfe County rescue team the best part of four hours to rescue the camper and bring him to safety.
According to May, the rescue was far from straightforward due to the numerous jagged edges of the cliff as well as the dark and foggy conditions. The camper is now in hospital being treated for a head injury as well as a dislocated shoulder and fractured leg, “It’s really a miracle. He fell 60 feet into boulders and from what we’ve been told he should make a full recovery. It’s quite remarkable,” said May.
The Wolfe County rope technician added, “It’s really a miracle.”
According to WDRB, rescue crews reported that the camper, who has not yet been named by authorities, fell a good 60-feet off the cliff, and it is simply a wonder that he didn’t die.
Sleepwalking is a phenomenon that affects a relatively small amount of people and is more correctly called as somnambulism or noctambulism.
The sleeping disorder belongs to the parasomnia family in medicine and can be as benign as sitting up in bed, walking to the bathroom, or as hazardous as cooking, driving, making violent gestures, and, of course, walking off a cliff while camping.