A 3-year-old Oklahoma child was saved from a 100-foot cliff fall in part due to his 7-year-old brother’s bravery.
On February 25, the two boys were hiking a trail in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur with their grandmother, sister, and dog.
As they were descending from the summit of Bromide Hill, their dog traversed close to the edge of the rock face.
When three-year-old Riley Duke tried to grab the family pet, he went over the cliff and plunged down into an icy stream below.
According to The Oklahoman, his big brother Dakota didn’t hesitate to take off after him, and slid down what was essentially a 100 foot vertical fall without fear for his own life.
Dakota was miraculously able to scramble down the cliffside to aid his injured little brother, and had the wherewithal to hold the boy’s head out of the water as they waited for help in the chilly water.
“[Dakota] just didn’t have quite enough strength to get him all the way up, but he got his head out from underneath the water,” the boys’ mother, Amy Branom detailed.
Branom said that the boys’ grandmother called emergency services as she made her way down the mountain. She also noted that her mother was unaware of how treacherous the trail actually was, as there were no signs or guardrails.
Once they were dispatched at 5:34 p.m., park rangers reached the boys miraculously quickly. They were able get both brothers out of the creek with the help of the Sulphur Fire Department and Murray County EMS.
Dakota and Riley were treated on scene, and swiftly rushed off to two separate local hospitals within a span of sixteen minutes. They were later transferred to the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, which has a Level 1 pediatric trauma center, to treat their severe injuries from the fall.
Riley suffered a several broken ribs, a fractured wrist, facial lacerations, a broken forehead and brain damage. He is currently stable in the ICU, but remains on a ventilator, feeding tube, and catheter.
Thankfully, he is conscious and able to reply to yes and no questions by nodding or shaking his head, but is unable to open his eyes due to the extreme swelling.
Dakota was treated for lacerations on his forehead, back of the head and a deeply skinned knee, but was released from the hospital two days later.
According to his mother, is unsure if his actions were brave, or rash. Luckily, she has reassured him that he is indeed an everyday hero.
“I’ve tried to tell him over and over again, that you 100% have done the correct thing,” Branom told The Oklahoman.
“You saved your baby brother,” she assured her son. “We’ll never be able to really thank him enough for what he did, honestly.”