Teen miraculously survives 400ft tumble from remote bridge

A teenager has miraculously survived a 400 foot (122 meter) fall down a steep ravine in Mason County, Washington.

The unnamed 19-year-old accidentally took a tumble on Saturday while out hiking in the Pacific Northwest state near the High Steel Bridge, one of the highest railroad bridges in the US.

He plunged hundreds of feet into the Skokomish River.

“He was walking down a washout that a lot of people use, and has kind of become a trail,” West Mason Fire Chief Matthew Welander told reporters at the scene.

“It’s not a trail. It’s a washout, it’s too steep. And [he] ended up all the way down at the river, sliding.”

Miraculously, he survived the fall and was rescued by Mason County Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters during a “safe and successful” two-hour rescue operation that involved them scaling the bridge and using a rope and harness to haul him to safety.

The teen was taken to hospital for evaluation but appeared to have sustained only minor injuries to his arms, according to NBC News.

Chief Welander said that the teen had been “incredibly lucky” to survive his ordeal.

Authorities took the opportunity to again remind visitors not to hike in the area, no matter how spectacular its forest and mountain scenery may be.

Sheriff’s Patrol Corporal Tim Ripp, who was also part of the rescue mission, said: “We’ve told people to stay off these trails because they’re dangerous, but people either haven’t seen the warning signs or are disregarding it.”

He estimated that five to seven people fall from the bridge every year, putting the problem down to carelessness and a lack of respect for nature.