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Hiker thankful for rescue after 9-hour ordeal

This week, a man searching for his drone ended up pinned by a falling boulder and struggled for...
This week, a man searching for his drone ended up pinned by a falling boulder and struggled for hours to get free and call for help.(California Highway Patrol)
Published: Nov. 26, 2020 at 9:31 PM EST
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LOS ANGELES (CBS News) - Pandemic lockdowns sparked a surge in hiking this year, and with it, a surge in hiking rescues.

This week, hiker Jason Koch was hiking in the mountains near Calistoga, California, when he ended up pinned by a falling boulder.

A phone and pen knife would end up being the keys to his rescue.

The California Highway Patrol released footage of Koch’s rescue. Koch’s positive attitude is the key to his survival.

He was on a mission to find his missing drone Monday when he slipped on a rock. As he fell, a large boulder pinned him to the ground for nine hours with his dying phone in his pocket.

“I actually reached across with my pen knife, cut my pants open and was able to reach into the pocket and pull my phone out,” Koch says.

In the freezing cold, he kept failing to free himself and reach the phone.

“I was like, ‘You know what? You’re not trying hard enough. Try harder,’” he says.

Finally, he got loose.

“I was like, ‘In your face, rock! I’m free now,’” Koch said.

In total darkness, he called 911. With his GPS location, rescuers in night vision goggles spotted his signals.

Koch, who says he’s not one of those “teary guys,” admitted he didn’t know how to express the feeling of the rescuers arriving.

With 11 broken ribs and a torn aorta, Thanksgiving took on a new meaning.

“I’m grateful for my family, my friends and my life,” he said.

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