Rescue crews were called to the Cumberland Trails to look for an injured hiker around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31.
Officials said Phillip Lineberry fell 75-100 feet at Hog Skin Branch.
Rescue personnel and HCEMS stabilized Lineberry in a Stokes stretcher, which is a rope system to stabilize the patient and provide safety for rescue personnel. Fire officials then carried Lineberry approximately 75 feet out of the woods and transported him onto a 6-wheeler in order to get him to the ambulance.
Lineberry spent three nights at Erlanger recovering from his injuries before he was released. He tells Channel 3 is grateful to be alive.
"I can't help but laugh just simply because it's either that or cry and I'd rather laugh than cry."
The 29-year-old now sits in a wheelchair with a broken leg, sprained ankle, two broken teeth, and several bruises after the alarming fall.
"Plastic surgeons stapled my face back together because upon the accident I remember touching my skull and my skull was exposed, and then I remember touching my lips and [they] were not together by any means," said Lineberry.
Lineberry explained that he was hiking with his friend and his dog, Pecos. He said he had hiked the trails at least four times before with Pecos, and had done his research. The trio eventually stopped at a waterfall after 1.3 miles of hiking. Lineberry said he had been keeping an eye out for Pecos the entire time, but as he turned to reach into his backpack, Pecos slipped. While trying to catch Pecos, Lineberry ended up falling onto sharp rocks. He said he was unconscious for the first 15 feet of the fall and landed on his face.
"My instincts kicked in and I jumped pushed him out of the way and I hear my friend yelling no and the next thing I realize is I'm yelling no and then I blacked out," said Lineberry. "Despite my best efforts to save him from falling off, all I did was alter his trajectory from falling off the side of the falls. I didn't see him for two days later, but they said all he had was a bit of a limp the first day and after that he was fine."
Lineberry's friend found Pecos sitting by Lineberry's car after the fall.
It will be a while until Lineberry fully recovers, but he said looking back he wouldn't have done anything differently.
"We followed all the rules and it just goes to show you that accidents can and will happen it's just you have to be prepared for them," said Lineberry. "I tend to think about the what if's, you know how moving forward I can treasure the gift that is life and how thankful I am that I appreciated it before. The true story of man's best friend I suppose."
Lineberry did not have insurance and is seeking helping from family and friends to help with his medical bills.
A GoFundMe Page was set up for Lineberry. If you'd like to help, click here.
Sunday, August 20 2017 8:43 PM EDT2017-08-21 00:43:03 GMT
The Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds action comedy "The Hitman's Bodyguard" has taken the top spot at the box office this weekend with an estimated $21.6 million in grosses from 3,337 theaters according to...More
The Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds action comedy "The Hitman's Bodyguard" has taken the top spot at the box office this weekend with an estimated $21.6 million in grosses from 3,337 theaters according to studio estimates Sunday.More