Osmun said he was hiking with his girlfriend Jessika McNeill when she got stuck in mud and fell into the creek. He recalled helping her up when he realized he was sinking into the sand himself.
“As I was helping her I didn't realize my right leg was sinking all the way into the sand, so it got about to my waist on my right leg and my left leg started sinking also,” Osmun said. “It felt like you were just sinking into, like, wet concrete. It felt like it had dried instantly; I couldn't move my leg at all.”
The couple had already hiked more than four miles and were almost at the Subway, a canyon that hikers reach through the Left Fork Trail. Osmun said his girlfriend tried to free his leg, but to no avail.
“Every second she would scrape it would just fill back up instantly,” Osmun said, adding that he began to panic.
Osmun’s girlfriend, who was soaked following her fall, covered the 34-year-old with “warm gear and clothing” and went to look for help. She hiked for four hours before she had enough cellphone service to call 911, park officials said.
Park officials said they found McNeill suffering from hypothermia. It took another two hours for them to reach Osmun, who told FOX13 he waited in the water as it snowed “really hard.”
“About 30 minutes after she left it started snowing really hard, so I was stuck in the water while it was pouring snow,” Osmun said. “My hips were just so tired from standing like that [for hours] that they weren't holding me up. I couldn't, I couldn't really control to hold myself up.”
Osmun recalled collapsing into the water eight hours after his girlfriend left to look for help. He later awoke to a flash of light and thought he was dreaming, FOX13 reported. The ranger who first arrived at the scene initially tried using a rope and pully to free the hiker.
“He started to pull on that, but it just felt like it was ripping my leg off. My whole hips felt like they were ripping out,” Osmun said.
Three other rangers arrived an hour later and were able to free Osmun — but the journey wasn’t over. A snowstorm forced them to stay put through the night and into the morning.
“It was pouring snow worse than it had been the whole time,” Osmun said.
“Only after a small break in the weather occurred in the afternoon, the DPS helicopter was able safely extricated the patient with a hoist rescue operation,” officials said in the news release.
Osmun said McNeill and the rangers were the reason why he was alive. He was reunited with his girlfriend at the hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia and minor injuries.