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Logan woman describes surviving rock slide during fishing trip

(Credit: Marian Boag, GoFundMe)

MORGAN COUNTY – A Logan woman is struggling to recover after she nearly died in a rockslide during a fishing trip along the Weber River. On one hand, she says she’s lucky to have survived.  On the other, this accident happened at the worst possible time for her.

Jenna Degraffenreid is an avid angler and was walking to one of her favorite fishing spots along the Weber River with her boyfriend, Charlie.  When she stepped on a loose cluster of rocks, she could tell something was wrong.

“For whatever reason, it just gave way under me.  The whole earth just started coming down with it,” she says.

Her fishing rod broke, and fly line wrapped around her as she fell all the way down into the river.  Along the way, she says she could feel being smacked by rocks and boulders.

Degraffenreid says, “I don’t know if it was a boulder that hit me, or if it was something that I rolled over that was already on the ground, but I felt my pelvis and my legs snap.”

She tried to swim out of the area, but, she couldn’t move due to the pain.  Plus, she was trying to avoid being hit by the rocks that fell down the mountain after her.  Her boyfriend witnessed the whole thing.

“I could hear Charlie screaming up there for me,” she says, adding, “They saw the rockslide and they both thought I was dead.  He couldn’t see me all the way down at the bottom of the river and he was expecting to come down to a dead body in the river.”

The biggest danger was a 15-foot boulder that rolled down after she did, and was racing right toward her.  However, she says the boulder unexpectedly stopped at the riverbanks.

“The boulder should have, at the speed it was going, just plowed right into me,” Degraffenried says.

Charlie told his father to call 911, and Degraffenreid says it took medics a long time to find them.  She was in such searing pain, they decided to keep her in the cold water to ease her suffering.  She says she could see through her ripped waders that her legs were disfigured.  She was sent to a hospital in Ogden, but was transferred to a specialist at the University of Utah.

Degraffenreid is in a wheelchair for the next eight weeks, with rods and screws holding her pelvis together.  She also had a shattered tailbone, a split kneecap and cuts and bruises on her face.  She says Charlie has been a major source of support for her.

“He actually asked me to marry him after the injury,” Degraffenreid says.

Even though she feels lucky to be alive, she is looking at major financial trouble because of the accident.  She lost her insurance after she quit her job since she and Charlie were going to move to Anchorage, Alaska.  Her aunt has set up a GoFundMe account to help her deal with expenses.