PILOT MOUNTAIN, N.C. -- A 17-year-old North Surry High School senior is recovering from broken bones after a 50-foot fall from Pilot Mountain Sunday evening.
“The only thing I thought was I’d never get to hear her say, ‘Daddy,’ again,” said the teen’s father, Mickey Creed.
Mickey says his daughter, Victoria, was hiking with friends when they took a break near Three Bears Gulley. A picture of Victoria shows her sitting over an edge a short time before and about 100 yards from where the group stopped.
“They were all sitting on the edge of a rock and some of the girls had got up and walked away,” Creed said. “They turned and asked Victoria, ‘Are you coming,’ and she said, ‘Yeah.’ She gets up and the next thing they heard was screaming.”
Victoria slid and fell about 50 feet, before a tree stopped her fall and she was knocked unconscious, Creed tells FOX8.
“She was actually trying to climb back up from where she was at, and lost her balance, and fell and she doesn't remember anything from there,” Creed said.
Creed got a phone call and immediately drove to Pilot Mountain, but wasn’t allowed past the gates.
“The waiting was brutal. I’m not gonna lie. I had a lot going through my head,” he said. “A lot of, ‘I should have been there, why wasn’t I there?’”
It took crews about an hour and 20 minutes to rescue Victoria.
“I got to speak to her and say a prayer with her,” Creed said, of when they brought Victoria down to him.
Creed then followed the ambulance as it transported Victoria to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where she was treated for a broken collarbone, two broken bones in her foot and given 14 stitches.
“To be able to walk into the room and actually see her sitting up, and say my name again, all the weight was lifted,” he said.
Family members tell FOX8 Victoria was being discharged from the hospital around 5 p.m. Monday.
“I can’t express enough how good God is, I really can’t,” Creed said.
Victoria’s father believes the experience will better prepare her to keep people safe in her future endeavors. He says she aspires to be -- of all things -- a park ranger.
“This was put in front of her to make her better at what she wants to be,” he said. “Maybe prevent this from happening to someone else.”
Creed added some advice for people who hike Pilot Mountain, or anywhere for that matter.
“I really think it could have been prevented if she had on some good hiking shoes,” he said, adding that Victoria was wearing Crocs at the time of the fall. “She wasn’t prepared. Just be prepared when you go to places like that. Pay attention.”
Creed also wants to find a couple who were the first ones to get to Victoria after the fall.
“I don’t know who they were, no one does,” he said. “I want to thank them for taking care of my baby.”