17-year-old Hunter Nelson watched his friend, Danny Riat, as he fell from nearly 70 feet
above him, crashing below on the mountainside. He “never felt fear,” just adrenaline as he
rushed to his friend. His swift heroism saved Danny from near death after a fall on a hiking trip.
They had been hiking near Archer Mountain in Washington State, taking in the beauty of
the waterfalls and creeks that nature had to offer. The trail began getting steeper, so steep “it was
nearly vertical,” Hunter says. Danny didn’t make a sound as fell, and landed “so hard his shoes
fell off,” Hunter says, “I was sure he was dead.”
Hunter only felt adrenaline and knew he needed to get to his friend. He clambered down
the cliff in under two minutes, one that had taken him 45 minutes to climb.
As soon as he reached him, Hunter checked his vitals, making sure he wasn’t bleeding or
paralyzed, then called 911. Over 50 people were searching for them, and Hunter whistled to
guide them. It began getting dark, so he made a signal fire and “waved a torch in the air.”
Hunter managed the situation for five hours until the Coast Guard helicopter found them.
Danny was put on a backboard and carried into the helicopter before the rescuer and Hunter were
Hunter is now interested in a career in search and rescue. After this experience, he aims
to help people in the future. He “knew what to do, and it helped save Danny’s life.”