Teenager, 19, falls down 400ft canyon while illegally hiking on washed out river bed - and somehow survives

The teen was walking underneath High Steel Bridge in Mason County West Mason Fire Chief said 'it's not a trail,' and the boy was 'incredibly lucky'

A 19-year-old teenager narrowly escaped death when he fell 400 feet down a canyon while illegally hiking on a washed out river bed.

The boy, whose name was not disclosed, was hiking under High Steel Bridge in Mason County, Washington State, on Saturday.

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 said.

But he warned 'it is not a trail, it's a washout, it's too steep, and ended up all the way down at the river, sliding.' 

A rescuer hooked the man up to a harness and lifted him to safety

A rescuer hooked the man up to a harness and lifted him to safety

Once special operations rescue was alerted to the teen's location, a member of the team hooked the boy up to a harness, and used a rope to scale the bridge.

Welander said the boy came out with only a few minor injuries, and was 'incredibly lucky,' King5 News reported.

Welander explained that the area is known for its steep terrain that looks deceiving, and sadly many have lost their lives unaware of the dangers.

'This is extremely dangerous,' the fire chief said.

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 said

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 said

The High Steel Bridge runs 695 feet long and has a deck that is 375 feet above the river water. It spans south fork of the Skokomish River, on National Forest Servce road, located in the city of Shelton in Macon County

The High Steel Bridge runs 695 feet long and has a deck that is 375 feet above the river water. It spans south fork of the Skokomish River, on National Forest Servce road, located in the city of Shelton in Macon County

He explain that there are 'warning' signs that says near the bridge that reads: 'Warning: The areas around the high steel bridge are slippery, steep, and unsafe for exploring.'

Officials said that a 'lack of respect for nature is part of the problem.' 'People come up here to just be stupid,' Welander said explaining that it puts a strain on their resources, NBC News reported.

He said that Saturday's rescue went so well because they have 'alot of practice hauling out dead bodies,' out of the area where the teen was saved.

He said the ratio is about 20 to one,'twenty dead to every one person they find alive at the bottom.'

Five to seven people fall off the bridge every year, and the majority die, officials said

Five to seven people fall off the bridge every year, and the majority die, officials said

The special operations teams go down to where the teen was saved about three to five times a year.

'There are more recoveries than there are rescues and they have to go down there,' one rescuer said.

He expressed gratitude to the Special Operations Rescue Team, and firefighters, 'for their swift and professional responses, CBS News reported.

His advice to others: 'Don't go off trail.'  

The High Steel Bridge runs 695 feet long and has a deck that is 375 feet above the river water.  It span south fork of the Skokomish River, on National Forest Servce road, located in the city of Shelton.

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