13-year-old son helps rescue Utah dad in Idaho wilderness

3 photos
Save Story

Show 1 more video

Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man is recovering after being hit by a falling boulder in the Idaho backcountry. He survived thanks to his quick-thinking 13-year-old son, he said.

David Finlayson, 52, is a criminal defense attorney who often travels to Idaho to backpack with his son, Charlie. They planned to fish and hike while on a trip to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness last week. But plans changed dramatically when a boulder fell on David and sent him tumbling 20 to 30 feet, Charlie told KTVB.

The boulder was the size of a refrigerator. David's left arm and leg were broken.

"At first I was freaking out a little bit," Charlie said. "But after a few minutes I kind of calmed down and thought, 'I have to help him out and get his sleeping bag and stuff.'"

He provided some first aid, then returned to camp for the sleeping bag. The pair slept where David was lying. The next day, they decided Charlie would have to hike 13 miles for help.

"I was saying a lot of prayers before I left," he said.

I was saying a lot of prayers before I left.

–Charlie Findlayson

David wrote a letter explaining the situation. It said, in part, "I cannot walk so I need a rescue, unfortunately. Please help Charlie find one for me."

Charlie ran into two members of his own LDS Church group just three miles down the 13-mile trail. They stayed with David. Charlie then ran into another man who helped notify authorities.

A helicopter eventually lifted David to safety, then to a hospital, KTVB reported. He's since had two surgeries and more will be needed, but he is expected to recover.

Contributing: Ashley Kewish


Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the KSL.com Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast