"I woke up on the rocks and I was covered in blood and did not believe what had just happened was not a dream," Gil Tighe, 25, recalled

By Joelle Goldstein
March 10, 2021 03:05 PM
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An Oregon hiker is thankful to be alive after they fell more than 100 feet from an oceanside cliff while celebrating their birthday.

Gil Tighe said they would always remember turning 25 following the close call on Friday at Hug Point State Park near Arch Cape, NBC affiliate KGW reported.

Tighe, who prefers they and them pronouns, was hiking with their partner when they fell more than 100 feet from an oceanside cliff, according to the outlet.

Tighe ended up landing on rocks and suffering multiple injuries, including a broken arm and fractures in their face, nose, ribs, left elbow and hip.

"I have to say, wasn't sure my 25th birthday would top the last two parties I had, but this will definitely be the hardest to forget," Tighe told KGW.

Shortly before the incident, Tighe told KGW that they had traveled to the Oregon Coast with their partner and were exploring a trail they never hiked before, KGW reported.

Though the trail appeared short and well-traveled, Tighe soon learned that it was narrow and only a few feet in, and ultimately slipped from the cliff, according to the outlet.

"I lost my footing and I slipped," Tighe recalled to Fox affiliate KPTV. "I remember there was about 10 feet or so of dirt and roots that I tried to catch myself on and then just a sudden drop."

KPTV reported that Tighe's fall happened in less than three seconds at roughly 40 miles per hour.

"I think at one point during the drop is when I lost consciousness and I woke up on the rocks," Tighe explained to KPTV. "I was covered in blood and did not believe what had just happened was not a dream."

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Tighe's partner was there to witness the fall and immediately called for help, KPTV reported.

The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed in a press release that it responded to the scene around 4:30 p.m., shortly after the Seaside Fire Department had shown up.

Using a helicopter, Coast Guard officials said they were able to airlift Tighe — who was "conscious and responsive" — to Sector Columbia River before transporting them to Portland for "higher medical care".

While in the hospital, Tighe told KGW that they were "in a lot of pain" and will probably require a metal plate in their left arm, but were remaining optimistic.

"I'm feeling pretty positive about the amount I'm going to heal, which is incredible considering I fell 100 feet onto the rocks, and here I am walking away only needing one surgery," Tighe said.

Tighe also noted that surviving the ordeal and getting a second chance at life was especially meaningful, as they had previously struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, but overcame those mental health challenges.

"I didn't want to die when I have a good life, good partner, warm house. It's my birthday, I'm not dying at 25," they explained to KGW. "To be able to be at this place as an adult and be like 'No I want to live,' is a pretty awesome development for me."

Now resting at home, Tighe told KPTV that they have a surgery on their arm scheduled for this coming week but are expected to make a full recovery.

Being able to recover from this incident, Tighe said, was ultimately due to the heroic first responders and medical staff who treated them.

"I feel really fortunate and I feel really grateful for all the hospital staff at Emanuel [Hospital]," they explained to KPTV. "They took really good care of me, and obviously toward the paramedics [too]."

"Without them, I'd be dead right now," Tighe added to KGW. "All our health care workers and all our paramedic responders who came through, they really did save my life."

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.