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Climber Loses Arm to Save Life - 2003-05-09

We end today with an uplifting story of survival. Aron Ralston is an avid outdoorsman who was climbing in a Utah canyon last week. At one point, a huge boulder suddenly shifted and he was trapped, caught by his arm. For five days he struggled to get free until he did the unthinkable – he amputated his own arm. This is how it happened – in his own words.

“The adrenaline was pumping very, very hard through my body. I was throwing my body against the boulder trying to see if it would budge at all, to no avail. I prayed for signs of an inspiration to keep coming up with new ideas, which I was able to do over the course of the five days.

It occurred to me that I might be able my break bones up at the wrist where they were pinched between the rock and the canyon wall. And upon maneuvering myself for about five minutes, really wrestling with it and applying torque in just the right directions my arm bent just the right way, I was able to first snap the radius and in another few minutes snap the ulna. I felt pain and I coped with it and moved on.

Then I made the rapel. Then set out on an approximately eight-mile hike. I think I hiked about six miles of that. I came upon some hikers and from there it was just kind of a trudge to a spot where then the helicopter spotted us and plucked me out of the canyon.”