A New York man suffered serious injuries after a 70-foot fall at North Caolina's Crowders Mountain State Park just before 8 a.m. Friday.
The man, Navas Delcid, was on the trail with his boyfriend, Hector Calix, at the time of the fall. Calix said he had just taken Delcid’s photograph when Delcid lost his balance and fell.
“I was taking his picture and he was falling all the way down,” Calix said after arriving back down the mountain.
Calix said he and Delcid, both of Long Island, N.Y., stopped at Crowders Mountain State Park while passing through while returning home from Miami, Calix said.
Calix said he has a sister who lives in Cherryville, N.C., and they were in the area to visit her.
Gastonia Fire Department described a difficult rescue effort to help Delcid. They carried Delcid 100 feet up an area known as the “climbing wall” and then another 400 yards before he could be transported off the mountain. He was taken to CaroMont Regional Medical Center, according to the Gastonia Fire Department.
Gayla Jones and Sherry Canterbury hike the trail every Friday morning. They passed the couple on their way down the mountain. Delcid and Calix were walking up the steps, dancing to Hispanic music, Canterbury said.
Jones and Canterbury were on their way back up the rocky stairs when Delcid started screaming.
“I thought, ‘Oh, that wasn’t a good scream,’ ” Jones said. “He started screaming his friend’s name.”
Canterbury called 911 while Jones went to comfort Calix. Jones and Calix walked back down the mountain together, and Jones later took Calix with her to CaroMont Regional Medical Center.
Hospital officials said Delcid was in stable condition as of 1:30 p.m. Friday. Hospital workers were in the process of taking Delcid to Atrium Health in Charlotte for further treatment, Calix said.
The rainy conditions could make hiking dangerous, Jones said.
“This is the first time they’ve ever been here so they were near the edge, I suppose, and he fell,” she said.
Calix, originally from Honduras, said he and Delcid, a Guatemala native, have been together for about a year.
He credited Jones for keeping him calm on the way back down the mountain and God for helping keep his emotions in check.
“I feel like God loves him and God loves me,” he said. “It always is God, I believe in God.”