Adam Perazzo, a 22-year-old BYU student from Fallon, Nev. was climbing Stewart Falls without safety equipment when he fell 70 feet to his death on Saturday.
“People went to run and help him,” said Bryant Roberts, an 18-year-old from West Jordan, Utah. “They said he was moving for a second, his eyes were opening and he was breathing for a second, and then he was gone.”
Roberts was hiking with another group when the accident occurred.
“Lots of people were calling for help, but most of them had trouble getting reception or were put on hold while they just talked to one person to get all the information they needed,” said Katie Smith, 22, a recent BYU graduate from Aiken, S.C.
The volunteers on the scene began a rotation to perform CPR to get him breathing again while everyone watched rescuers make their way to the falls up through the river.
“They gave him CPR for a really long time, until a search and rescue team could hike in and take over after about 30 minutes,” Smith said.
As they waited, many families took their younger children and tried to get them out of the area while most of the others remained.
“Then the search and rescue team arrived and continued CPR and tried to get his heart going with a defibrillator a few times,” Smith said.
This continued for about 15 minutes until a helicopter came and airlifted him to a hospital.
Even more people knew CPR than were actually performing it, because the rotation didn’t need everyone else. Many others found the hikers in Perazzo’s group and tried to talk to them and comfort them.
“All of his friends that were there said it was an official ward activity. There were about 15-20 people in the group with him,” said Roberts. “It was just shocking. You don’t really see that kind of thing in real life. We were all just standing there thinking, did that just really happen?”
Smith said that her prayers, thoughts and feelings all go out toward Perazzo’s family and friends.