Layton hiker who became trapped, injured in rushing water thankful for bystanders who helped

Jun 1, 2023, 12:09 PM | Updated: Jun 6, 2023, 11:18 am

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — A Layton couple is thanking the bystanders who helped the husband after he fell into a rushing, cold creek up a canyon — and got trapped in the water.

One day past their 42nd wedding anniversary, Andrea and Barney Bartling had a lot to be grateful for. The couple has three kids, four grandchildren and a 14-year-old rescue cat named Kiwi. They both love the LA Rams and watch games together, with team merchandise and decorations all over their apartment.

But on this anniversary, they’re incredibly grateful that Barney is OK after what happened to him the day before they were supposed to celebrate.

On Memorial Day, Barney Bartling went for a hike up Adams Canyon. He said he is training for a marathon and Monday was a non-run day.

He had been to the lower falls before and wanted to see the upper falls about 2.5 miles up.

“When you get close to the falls you have to get in the water and walk across to get to the falls. The falls were beautiful,” Bartling said. “It was roaring, it was so loud… it was incredible.”

After taking in the view at the top, Bartling recounted how he was headed back down and was about a couple hundred feet from the waterfall when he lost his balance.

“The next thing I know I’m falling towards the water and going, ‘Oh crap,'” he said.

He hit the water and remembers rolling.

“My head hit the rock on the right side, and I was laying on my arm, and the water was going over me,” Bartling explained.

His glasses came off and floated away, as did his favorite LA Rams hat. His cell phone dropped somewhere in the water.

“I was trying to stand up and I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t get up,” Bartling said. “The water was holding me down. I just couldn’t move.”

As Bartling struggled, he said a man jumped into the cold, rushing the water.

“He grabbed me and pulled me up, and then he was gripping me real tight, got me over to the side and got me out of the water, and then a whole gang of people just showed up,” he said.

People began to take out bandages and first aid kits. Bartling said one woman called 911, and another woman who works as a nurse checked him for a concussion.

“All of these people are working on me, getting the blood off,” Bartling said. “The guy that pulled me out, they were trying to figure out how to bandage my head.”

He said that man used his own shirt to wrap Bartling’s head, ruining the shirt with blood.

The group stayed by his side, he said, eventually helping him down the trail far enough to meet up with paramedics. He said he thanked them many times but doesn’t know who any of the people were.

Bartling was pretty banged up, but he’ll be OK.

He said Andrea Bartling “freaked out” when he walked in the door of their apartment, seeing her husband injured. His legs now each have scrapes and scabs, and his head still has bandages on it from hitting it hard on the rock.

He lost his phone and glasses and is working on getting those replaced.

“I think he was upset the most because he lost his LA Rams cap,” Bartling said.

They had to postpone their 42nd wedding anniversary dinner while he rests and recovers. But on their anniversary, the Bartlings felt only gratitude — especially for the good Samaritans who stepped in to help Barney.

“Whoever you are out there, if people that went in the water to get him, the people who stayed with him, all the people there that wanted to help him… we are very thankful for you,” Andrea Bartling said. “Extremely thankful.”

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Layton hiker who became trapped, injured in rushing water thankful for bystanders who helped