EAGLE, Colo. – A 16-year-old boy whose foot was trapped under a huge boulder for more than 12 hours suffered swelling but no broken bones — and he hopes to be playing high school football this fall.
"That was the big surprise. Nothing was broken," William McCann said from his hospital room at Vail Valley Medical Center (search) after his rescue Thursday.
McCann, of Leander, Texas (search), was climbing Wednesday afternoon in the Holy Cross Wilderness area southwest of Vail when he was trapped by a rock about 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide, Eagle County sheriff's officials said. He was in a group of about 20 people taking part in an Outward Bound program.
McCann said others in his group had grabbed boulders and pulled themselves up, but when it was his turn, the boulder under his hand came crashing down on his right foot.
"I didn't think twice about it because a couple people ahead of me put their hands on the same rocks," he said.
Rescuers told him the boulder weighed at least 1,000 pounds.
"It felt like my toes were going to pop, there was so much pressure," McCann said.
Hours passed. His companions had tried in vain to lift the rock, then found an Outward Bound (search) leader with a mobile phone, he said. But the patrol leader had to hike the top of the mountain to try to get a 911 call through, McCann said.
"I went through a bunch of different stages, a lot of pain and anguish," McCann said. "Then my body started going through shock. Then after a few hours, my body got used to the pain and learned to ignore it."
Sheriff's officials said the group's 911 call came in around 7:30 p.m. A Colorado Army National Guard helicopter flew in rescuers.
"I was afraid I was going to have to spend the night in the position I was in," McCann said. "It was such a relief to see the helicopter."
McCann was rescued early Thursday. It took 12 people and high-pressure air bags to move the boulder. He didn't learn until later that his parents had been asked for their permission to amputate his foot if necessary.
"They were hysterical," McCann said. "That was real hard on them."
He said is looking forward to playing middle linebacker on his high school football team this fall. He signed up for Outward Bound after hearing his aunt say how much she liked the program.
"I loved it," McCann said. "Up until the boulder."