LDS Missionary Critically Injured in Fall

LDS Missionary Critically Injured in Fall

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(Sydney, Australia-AP) -- A Mormon missionary from Texas is in a critical condition at an Australian hospital after falling 230 feet into a canyon.

The 21-year-old former Brigham Young University athlete fell on Wednesday afternoon from a lookout in Morton National Park south of Sydney.

Matthew Weirich of Fredericksburg was walking with three other missionaries when he fell into the canyon after climbing over the lookout's safety barrier to retrieve a shoe.

Rescuers tried to reach him late Wednesday, but the effort was postponed because of dwindling light and the rugged, forest-clad terrain. The rescuers reached him Thursday and winched him aboard a helicopter.

He was unconscious when rescued and was suffering from serious head and spinal injuries. Temperatures overnight had dipped to 35 degrees.

At B-Y-U, Weirich was second at the Junior National Track and Field meet in 2002, and was a Junior All American and member of the U-S-A Junior World team.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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