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Man in serious condition after falling about 40 feet at Donut Falls

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Posted at 2:23 PM, Jun 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-14 21:58:55-04

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah – For the second weekend in a row, a hiker has fallen while trekking through Big Cottonwood Canyon. Both accidents happened in the same location near Donut Falls.

"Those rocks up by the falls are extremely slick, and it's very steep, the spray from the falls hits them and they become a lot more slick than one may think," said hiker Daniel Winder.

Winder has experience on the rocks. However, he said there is no way he'd allow his young daughters to hike anywhere near them.

"Once you lose your footing and start to fall that's it, you're not going to stop until you hit the bottom," Winder said.

That's what happened Saturday afternoon. Rescue crews had to transport a 22-year-old man to the hospital via ambulance.

"Ultimately as he was walking across there, lost his footing and fell about 40 to 45 feet," said Lt. Justin Hoyal of the Unified Police Department. "The victim sustained head and back injuries and is in serious condition at this time."

Friends hiking with the fallen man were able to keep him warm and calm until rescue crews arrived. They say he was conscious and talking the entire time.

Last week 40-year-old Ana Maria Raya was killed after falling in the same area of Donut Falls. Police said the popular trail is very safe, as long as you stay on it.

Preston and Brinadde Pierson had no reservations about bringing their three-month-old daughter Harper on the trail.

"You just have to be smart don't do things you shouldn't be doing," Brinadde said. "There is a reason they have signs up there, there is a reason they say, 'don't go off the trail,' don't climb things you shouldn't be climbing on, you may think you can go off the trail but it's better to be safe than sorry."

Many people say in order to capture the best view of the falls you have to leave the trail. Tom Zuniga traveled here all the way from California. He says he'll definitely venture beyond the trail, but he'll do it carefully.

"In the back of your mind you always just make sure when your stepping somewhere your stepping on something solid, not shaky, or crumbly, or slippery if it's wet there, so yea I think good footing and if there is something good to hold onto, strong to hold on to that's important too," Zuniga said.