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Rock climber seriously injured after falling about 60 feet

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Posted at 2:14 PM, Aug 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-02 23:26:49-04

SALT LAKE CITY – Search and rescue crews responded to Little Cottonwood Canyon after a man fell while rock climbing.

Officials said a man in his 40s was rock climbing with his 19-year-old son when he fell about 60 feet.

Officials received the call at about 12:38 p.m. The scene is below the Tanner's Flat Campground. As of shortly before 6 p.m., rescue crews had managed to bring the injured man down from the mountain to be taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Officials said the location where the man fell was angled in such a way that they could not extract him with a medical helicopter. About 15 search and rescue crews set up a complex rope and pulley system to put the victim on a stretcher and lower him down.

The man sustained serious injuries, including a broken ankle, several broken ribs and possibly a broken hip. When rescuers reached him he was hanging from a rope.

Officials said the anchors the man was using while climbing came out of the rock formation after he fell. The man bounced on the rocks as he fell. The man's son, Isaac Buckland, told FOX 13 News the climbing gear slowed his father's fall, and he said it was a lower anchor that kept him from hitting the ground.

"He fell almost 60 feet, and luckily the lower anchors caught him before he bottomed out... I was able to catch him with the belay system, and he wasn't killed."

Buckland said he and his father have been rock climbing for about 15 years, and authorities said the pair had all of the appropriate gear with them.