Toddler Survives Near-Cliff Fall

Three-year-old Alaina Pitton tumbled through a fence above a 150-foot cliff.

Nov. 13, 2008 — -- When the Pitton family stopped to capture images of its coastal Oregon tour, things briefly took a scary detour when 3-year-old Alaina Pitton tumbled through a fence perched above a 150-foot cliff.

The family had stopped to snap a photo in Oregon's Ecola State Park when, to the shock and fear of her mother, the toddler fell backwards through a wide opening in the fence.

"We were going to take a picture of the girls when they were standing against the railing," said Alaina's mother Charlotte Pitton. "Alaina just kind of stepped back."

"If she would have stood back up," Pitton said, "she would have been gone."

But acting quickly, cousin Craig Wulfekuhle managed to grab the child before she fell down the cliff.

"Craig, our cousin from Iowa, had started to jump over the fence before Alaina finished falling," Pitton said.

"It was so, so, so scary," Alaina said. "I was shaking. My tummy was shaking. My head was shaking. My arms were shaking, my legs and my feet too."

Pitton was relieved that her daughter suffered no serious injuries.

"After I got Alaina and she was crying and I was crying -- I almost passed out," Pitton said.

"I was just thanking God," she added. "It could have been her time, and he chose it wasn't her time."

Pitton said she has nothing but thanks and admiration for Wulfekuhle.

"Craig is the guardian angel. He really did save her life," Pitton said. "It was truly a miracle and a blessing that he reacted so quickly."