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Panthers' Christian McCaffrey, rescued elderly man give harrowing details of hiking accident

"I'd be lying if I didn't think that as soon as he got in the ambulance, he was going to die," McCaffrey said.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey recalled his role in rescuing an elderly man after a horrific hiking accident back in March 2018.

Back in March, McCaffrey was out hiking with his brothers Dylan and Max and former Duke defensive lineman Michael Mann in Castle Rock, Colo., when they witnessed something traumatic: an elderly man falling 20 feet onto a rock.

The Carolina running back, Mann, the elderly man and his family all recalled the harrowing incident in a video shared by the Panthers' social media page.

"We turned the corner and as we turned the corner, it sticks with me pretty heavy," Christian McCaffrey said. "I look up and I see an older man and a younger kid."

"I heard what sounded like a slip of a shoe," said Eli, Dan Smoker Sr.'s grandson. "I turned around to see my grandfather fall to the ground."

The three McCaffrey brothers and Mann stepped in to help Dan Smoker Sr. The Carolina Panther dialed 911, Mann and another witness tended to Smoker, who had suffered serious injuries from the fall.

"Things went super slow for like 10 seconds," Mann recalled.

At one point, Mann said in the video he could see Dan Smoker Sr.'s eyes rolling towards the back of his head.

"I had my hand on his pulse the whole time," Mann said. "I won't ever forget, it basically stopped."

When Dan Smoker Sr.'s pulse reportedly stopped, Mann began performing chest compressions.

"I don't know CPR," Mann remembered telling people at the scene. "I tried to pump on his chest as best as I could. And by the grace of God, whatever you want to call it, he was able to come back to at least convulsing again."

Paramedics eventually made it to the scene and were able to take over.

"Amazing what those guys did," Christian McCaffrey said of the paramedics back in March.

"I'd be lying if I didn't think that as soon as he got in the ambulance, he was going to die," McCaffrey said in the video.

Dan Smoker Sr. suffered a broken femur, a broken pelvis, internal bleeding, bleeding on the brain, nine fractured ribs and a broken neck from the fall, according to the Panthers.

Months after the accident, Dan Smoker Sr. is out of the hospital and in good health.

"I just appreciate what each and everyone did," Dan Smoker Sr. said in a video months after the hiking accident.

In May, the Panthers and Christian McCaffrey surprised the Smoker family with a gift basket consisting of Panthers gear and game tickets. Dan Smoker Sr.'s son took to Twitter to thank the Panthers and McCaffrey.

"When the [Panthers] said they were sending a gift basket, I thought it'd be some chocolates," Dan Smoker Jr. tweeted.

McCaffrey said he looks forward to seeing the Smoker family at Bank of America Stadium in September.

"I think I'll definitely get a little extra adrenaline seeing them over there," McCaffrey said. "That's a family of fighters."

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