University of Kentucky student injured in fall off cliff in Garrard County

gkocher1@herald-leader.comApril 22, 2013 

A University of Kentucky student was taken to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital on Sunday after falling about 60 feet off a Garrard County cliff.

John Davis, 22, of Danville was listed in serious condition Monday. Davis was rescued by volunteer firefighters from Garrard and Jessamine counties, said Dennis King, a Jessamine County Fire District board member who went to the scene.

Davis "was going in and out of consciousness," King said. "Both eyes were as black as they could be. He vomited once and it was just blood."

The fall was reported about 4:15 p.m. Sunday by a hiker accompanying Davis, King said. Authorities initially thought the hikers were at the Jim Beam Nature Preserve near Camp Nelson in southern Jessamine County, King said.

But GPS coordinates and the uninjured hiker's cellphone revealed that the accident happened on the Garrard side of the Kentucky River, at the Tom Dorman State Nature Preserve, Jessamine County Fire Chief Mike Rupard said.

The fall happened after the two men left the trail, King said. "If they had stayed on the trail, they would have been fine," he said. "I guess they were just trying to challenge themselves."

The other hiker, identified only as Garrett, called for help with his cellphone from the Kentucky River Palisades, King said.

Rescuers from Camp Dick Volunteer Fire Department were able to put Davis into a rescue basket and brought the basket to the riverbank, where Jessamine County firefighters put him into a rubber boat.

From there, the boat took Davis to a boat ramp at Camp Nelson on the Garrard County side, and an ambulance took him from there to the hospital.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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