(ABC NEWS) -- A Colorado man plunged 100 feet while hiking but managed an improbable landing, using his gymnastics skills to help keep him alive.
Dylan Schuetz, 21, fell last week at St. Mary’s Glacier, a popular spot for hikers.
He tumbled head-first over the ledge, with death almost certain. But just as he has done at the gym countless times, Schuetz flipped mid-air to land on his feet. That move stunned his friend Cody Tengler.
“He spots his landing and then kind of does a flip, a front flip over himself,” Tengler recalled.
Schuetz broke both of his legs and ankles in the fall. He also punctured a lung. His frightened friends tried desperately to keep him conscious until help arrived.
“We just kept talking to him, do everything that you can to keep him alive and going, and just have hope,” Matthew Campbell, Schuetz’s friend, told ABC News.
Schuetz is recovering at Colorado Hospital, with another surgery scheduled for Friday.
His mother, Stacey Dale-Schuetz, says her son plans to never hike again. But he vows to return to the sport he loves, the one that may have saved his life.
“The doctor said, ‘Do you want to do gymnastics again, Dylan?’ And he said, ‘Yeah!’ He said, ‘Well then, we’ll get you there.’
“Anything he wants to do, I know he’ll accomplish.”
His family has set up a fundraising page – “Dylan Schuetz Road to Recovery.” Click here to learn more.