Man Sleepwalks Over Cliff While Camping

Ryan Campbell, 27, was on a camping trip in Kentucky

ByABC News
September 10, 2014, 10:09 AM

— -- The Ohio man who fell 60 feet off a cliff when he went sleepwalking while on a camping trip says as soon as he landed he thought he was going to die.

A rhododendron bush saved his life.

“I was sure I was dead, or at least severely messed up,” Ryan Campbell told ABC News. “You don't think you're going to fall that far and walk away from it.”

Campbell, 27, was camping with friends in Grays Arch Trail in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge last week when he fell asleep in a hammock.

One hour later, early last Thursday morning, Campbell got out of the hammock and began sleepwalking. While his friends watched, Campbell walked right over a nearby cliff, plunging 60 feet below.

It took rescuers nearly three hours to get to the scene but when they rappelled down the mountain to Campbell, they found him miraculously alive and with no life-threatening injuries.

“I was pretty shocked that I couldn't really find any discernible injuries,” Wolfe County Search and Rescue officer David Fifer told ABC News.

Rescuers took about one hour to place Campbell in a basket and hoist him back up the mountain, giving Campbell a chance to see how far he had fallen.

“It was surreal coming up the way I came down, because I got to see every foot of this cliff that I'd just flown over,” Campbell said.

Rescuers attribute Campbell’s soft landing to the fact that, in an area full of rocks and boulders, Campbell landed on a rhododendron bush.

“Otherwise, more likely than not, it would have been a fatal fall,” Wolfe County Search and Rescue officer John May told ABC News.

Campbell was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he was treated for a cut to the back of his head and a chipped vertebrae and released.

Though he is expected to make a full recovery, Campbell says rescuers will not have to worry about coming out to save him ever again.

“I'm not going to put myself in a position to have that happen again,” Campbell said.