Mickey D. Horak helped to save Paulina A. Filippova from falling, American Fork, Utah, September 24, 2006. Paulina, 3, fell from a trail at a national monument on the face of a steep wall of American Fork Canyon and landed out of view on a narrow ledge at a point about 75 feet below the trail. Beyond the ledge was a much higher and steeper drop. She began to cry. A family friend in her party began to descend to her, but he fell to his death down the 60-degree slope of the canyon wall. Horak, 26, electrician, who was visiting the monument, and a park ranger were alerted, and they responded to the trail. Taking a different course, Horak descended to Paulina, using shrubs and trees as support but having to cover areas of fallen and loose rock with no holds available. Horak held Paulina to keep her from falling off the ledge as the park ranger descended to them over the same course. Unable to climb from the ledge with her, the men waited on it for rescue personnel, the park ranger taking Paulina from Horak, who then used the park ranger’s radio to communicate their status. They waited for 90 minutes on the ledge, the surface of which was loose, as search and rescue workers and medic helicopter crews assembled and responded. A rescuer rappelled to their position, secured Paulina, and held to her as Horak and the park ranger climbed to a less treacherous stretch of the slope. They then aided the rescue worker with Paulina to that point, and Paulina was shortly lifted by helicopter from the scene. Using lines and other gear, rescue personnel then assisted Horak and the park ranger from the face of the canyon back to the trail, and they descended to its base. Paulina was taken to the hospital, where she was detained overnight for treatment of lacerations and bruises. She recovered. Horak sustained lacerations to his back and knees, and he too recovered.
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