13-year-old William Hickman was rescued from the brink of a 265-foot waterfall in Washington State.
“The worst waiting game ever,” William Hickman said lightheartedly. “I’m sitting there freezing cold, on rocks for eight hours straight. I was scared they were going to have to chop off my toes from hypothermia or something!”
The teen was hiking with his dad, 9-year-old brother and friends when he decided to take a break in the river.
“I wanted to go in … just to wade a little bit,” Hickman recalled.
Unfortunately, the boy slipped and the currents dropped him ten feet into a deep pool above the waterfall.
“I wasn’t really scared until after I got on top of the rock,” the boy said. “I was shocked that I landed there, that I was not going to go down and die.”
The boy waited, cold and wet in the same spot for 8 1/2 hours until rescuers found a way to reach him.
“He was in a very, very dangerous spot,” explained Sheriff Danny Wickstrom. In fact, one of the rescuers almost suffered a fatal plunge, as the main rope snapped as he rappelled down. Luckily, a second rope stopped him from dropping straight down over the falls.
Ten rescuers eventually reached Hickman and camped with him overnight until a platform could be lowered to their area.
“I feel lucky I got through it all,” Hickman said. “I think the rescuers should feel like heroes; they saved me. I’m lucky to be alive.”
The teen also credits his favorite fantasy-novel, Pendragon Adventure books by D.J. MacHale for his survival. The book taught him, “Go feet first, stay to the sides and kick off the rocks.”
Watch the interview and rescue footage below.