Teen falls off cliff but survives after praying that angels would protect her
18-year-old Cherelle LaGrou and her mother, Shelly, told reporters that they prayed for angels to protect her as she clung to the side of an Alaskan cliff on Tuesday.
LaGrou lost her footing while hiking alone, and fell 30 feet off a cliff. She was on the phone with her mother using a hands-free headset when she fell, and was able to remain on the call until she was rescued.
The Omak, Washington teen works at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge in Alaska's Denali National Park – about 1,500 miles from her home. On June 10, LaGrou was hiking near Fox Creek and talking to her mother, who was at home with the teen's father, Joe. Shelly said her daughter doesn't usually hike alone.
"She hikes several times a week with friends, but they were all at work," she told the Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle. She wanted to go see some waterfalls."
Cherelle reached the top of a slippery ridge, and told her mom she wasn't sure what to do next. Then, Shelly heard her daughter scream, followed by silence. Cherelle had fallen off the cliff, but was able to stop her fall by grasping the rock's wall.
Shelly described the emotional state her daughter was in when she returned to the phone.
"She was hysterical and did not know what happened. I calmed her down," she said.
"I am not sure what she found to get a finger hold to stop herself in the slide," she explained. "She had her feet against the rock wall, which was a rock surface. It was rocky, icy down below.
"I knew that just one wrong slip any second, and I'd be hearing her scream again and she'd be gone," Shelly told the Associated Press.
While the mother and daughter prayed together, Joe called the wilderness lounge, who in turn called the Alaska State Troopers. They successfully rescued the teen.
The 45-minute rescue is expected to air this fall on National Geographic reality show "Alaska State Troopers."
Shelly was able to stay on the phone with her daughter until her phone died, just after the troopers arrived. The teen suffered only minor scratches.
Cherelle said that she felt she was facing death, and that the whole ordeal seems unbelievable.
"It feels like it was something out of a movie," she told AP. "It was all just so unreal that it was actually happening."