Barely able to dial 911, man rescued after cliff fall

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 22 at 9:29 AM

WHITE SETTLEMENT, Texas -- Jeff Curry, 25, was still in pain Monday, hobbling on crutches.

He pointed out the spot where he slipped and fell less than 24 hours before.

"I was coming from this direction," he said, as he motioned toward a path with a steep drop-off right beside it. "Last thing going through my head was just, 'Oh, no.'"

The Army veteran was running after his dog, who had gotten loose, when he lost his footing and tumbled off a cliff at John Griggs Park in White Settlement.

"I"m just glad I didn't land on my head," he said. "I could be -- y'all could be at a funeral right now."

Curry landed several feet below, amid jagged rocks and steep drop-offs, flat on his back. He woke up in excruciating pain, but aware enough to dial 911.

His call set off a search from the ground and the air. Curry could simply wait and stare straight up at the sky.

He estimates he laid there for an hour and a half, without moving.

"I couldn't move at all," he said.

But he remembers hearing a helicopter overhead. And he was able to talk to dispatchers and tell them which direction to look to try to find him.

He credits his military training with helping guide the rescuers to him.

"The first person who got to me was a police officer, and then EMS," he said, adding he was so thankful they found him and knew how to pull him to safety.

They strapped him to a board and pulled him out. Pictures of the rescue show Curry in pain.

He did not break a bone, but suffered three compressed discs in his back and nerve damage in his leg. He said he might need surgery, but he is alive and he can walk.

 He still feels pain, but he feels lucky, too.

"I ain't coming down here to walk the dog ever again!" he said, with a laugh.

That dog, Max, an Australian Cattle Dog or "blue heeler," is still missing. He is wearing a collar and has tags, so Curry hopes someone helps them reunite.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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