Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
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Karen Scullin reporting Seth Buhr was in Big Cottonwood Canyon hiking with friends when suddenly a five ton boulder came tumbling down and crushed him.
It happened up Big Cottonwood Canyon at the popular Doughnut Falls.
Rescue crews say it could have happened to anyone, that there was no way to know a five ton rock would suddenly break loose.
In an instant, a force of nature sent the boulder tumbling. Buhr was in it's path. But right before he was crushed and killed, he pushed his friend out of the way.
Jeanette Smith/ Victim's Friend: "HE ALWAYS PUT OTHER PEOPLE FIRST. SO THAT'S WHY I WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED IF HE CONCIOUSLY TRIED TO SAVE MY LIFE."
Just before the accident, the group of four was wading in the water below Doughnut Falls when the rocks shifted.
With their friend pinned beneath the boulder, the others tried to push it off him. It was just too heavy.
Jeanette Smith: "I KEPT SAYING, 'SETH, HANG ON, HANG ON.' AND HE KEPT SHAKING HIS HEAD."
Jeanette Smith: "I WAS REALLY TORN. I WANTED HIM TO JUST GO-- I COULD TELL HE WAS IN A LOT OF PAIN. BUT I DIDN'T WANT HIM TO DIE."
One of the others ran down the trail for help, and needed help herself for an injured hand.
Elizabeth Purcell/ Hiker: "ME AND MY HUSBAND DECIDED I WOULD DRIVE HER TO THE HOSPITAL AND HE WOULD GO UP AND SEE WHAT HELP HE COULD PROVIDE FOR THE BOY."
But it wasn't even easy for rescue crews to move the boulder. It took 65,000 pounds of pressure to lift up the five ton rock six inches, just enough room to pull the victim out. But it was too late to save him.
Sgt. Lane Larkin/ Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office: "IT'S JUST ONE OF THOSE ACTS OF GOD OR MOTHER NATURE, WHERE WE NEVER KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO ANY ONE OF US."
Jeanette Smith: "THEY SAY GOOD PEOPLE DIE FIRST. IF THAT'S ANY COMFORT TO ME, WHICH IT REALLY ISN'T TO ME."
After the interview, Jeanette Smith asked us to make a point to warn other hikers to be very, very careful. With a lot of people heading outside to enjoy the weather and the outdoors, that's good and timely advice.