LOCAL NEWS

Hiker with flip-flops grateful to be alive after fall at Bridal Veil Falls

Sep 20, 2022, 8:36 AM | Updated: Nov 2, 2022, 3:37 pm

PROVO, Utah — A man who fell more than 30 feet while climbing Bridal Veil Falls with flip-flops is recovering from a broken back and said he is grateful to be alive during an exclusive interview with KSL TV.

Justin Hill hiked up Bridal Veil Falls for the first time with a friend last year. Since then he’s returned many times because of the view, the beauty and the peace he feels there.

But on Sept. 8, his days of hiking up the falls came to an abrupt stop, at least temporarily.

He had just wrapped up a job interview and was feeling good. So he made an unexpected stop in Provo Canyon, threw on his sandals and started making his way up the waterfalls.

But when he got to the point he had been to so many times before, he decided to go higher to try and get an even better view. He said he had to climb up a small rock wall to get there.

After soaking up the beauty for a time, he struggled to know how to get back down and ultimately decided the best way would be the same way he climbed up. But it was not as easy.

“I can’t describe how it was,” Hill said. “Definitely terrifying. I didn’t know what was happening.”

He was falling. And he would continue to fall an estimated 30 to 40 feet before crashing onto his back, with part of his body on the edge of another drop.

“The only thing that stopped me from falling another 100 to 150 feet — people were telling me — was this little tree.”

The pain was agonizing. He said it hurt to move and it hurt to breathe. But somehow he managed to inch himself away from the edge and then call 911.

Fifteen minutes into the call he could hear the ambulance. Someone was coming to get him. But he said he was on the phone for an hour and a half before a helicopter picked him up and carried him to safety.

Hill thanked the dispatcher who waited with him on the phone.

“Justin, are you OK? I need you to talk to me. What do you see around you? I need you to stay with me,” he remembers her saying.

The next day, doctors performed surgery to fix two vertebrae on his back. He left the hospital one week later with two rods and six screws in his back.

Monday was his first time back at the falls since the incident. He returned to the base with his wife and a cane to keep him from falling.

“Memories came back,” he said. “Both good and bad memories.”

And it hit him that he had almost died there. But, he said this would not be his last time back.

With a smile, he said he “definitely learned my lesson not to hike in flip-flops.”

“I definitely feel like someone higher above has bigger plans for me and didn’t think it was my time to go.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Quinn McKay, second from the left, was a Marine in World War II in a unit that suffered heavy casua...

Mike Anderson

Utah veterans think of friends while preparing for honor flight

Monday was a special Memorial Day for more than 70 Utah war veterans who are preparing for an honor flight Tuesday.

6 hours ago

Police are searching for shooters who they say fired at another car while fleeing an alleged robber...

Andrew Adams

Police seek suspects after shots fired, crash in Sandy neighborhood

Police on Monday were looking for suspects following shots that were fired and a crash that took place close to a high-density housing development.

7 hours ago

Nine people have been displaced following a house fire Monday evening in Payson. (Payson Fire Depar...

Mark Jones

9 people displaced in Payson house fire, no injuries reported

Nine people have been displaced following a house fire Monday evening in Payson.

8 hours ago

A Memorial Day gathering marked the heartwarming end to what started as an upsetting story in the G...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Restored headstone vandalized at Grantsville Cemetery unveiled on Memorial Day

A Memorial Day gathering marked the heartwarming end to what started as an upsetting story in the Grantsville Cemetery. Months after historic headstones were found broken and destroyed, one extended family came together with reason to celebrate. 

9 hours ago

The exterior of the Wells Ward building in Salt Lake City's Liberty Wells neighborhood on Saturday....

Mark Jones and Shelby Lofton

Neighbors say Wells Ward meetinghouse was left in disrepair for years before fire

A nearly 100-year-old church is set to be demolished after a fire Sunday morning left it in ruins.

10 hours ago

With the unofficial start to the summer here, that means more Utah families will be going out for a...

Brianna Chavez

Officials remind swimmers to be cautious before stepping foot in water this summer

With the unofficial start to the summer here, that means more Utah families will be going out for a swim. But aquatics officials are urging anyone who gets in the pool or open water to be cautious.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Hiker with flip-flops grateful to be alive after fall at Bridal Veil Falls