A man's cries for a cell phone caught the ear of a passing hiker who alerted rescuers to the man and his 5-year-old son, both injured Sunday in a fall at Crowders Mountain State Park.
Greg Foust, 35, of Gastonia, N.C., was in fair condition at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte on Monday with a broken back, said his aunt, Kathy Phillips of Fort Mill. Foust's son, Dylan, was in serious condition with a fractured skull, she said.
She said her nephew doesn't remember how he and Dylan ended up on the ledge where they were found.
A hiker on a trail near the ledge heard Foust yelling for a cell phone about 11:30 a.m. and notified authorities, said Larry Hyde, park superintendent.
The two were apparently hiking near the Linwood Road access point, where rock climbing is allowed, and departed from a marked trail before they fell and landed on the cliff ledge.
There is no age restriction for hikers, but to rock climb visitors have to register and use proper safety equipment, Hyde said. Foust had not registered to climb, he said.
"How it started, how they ended up where they were, we don't know," he said.
The child was unconscious when rescue crews arrived. Foust was somewhat alert but did not immediately recall the fall.
It took about 40 rescue workers almost two hours to get father and son off the edge of the steep mountain, Hyde said.
Phillips said trips to the park are frequent for the Foust family.
"They go up the mountain all the time, so this is a freak accident," she said.
Phillips said she visited both father and son Sunday night and was to return again Monday night as part of a rotation local family members set up.
Greg Foust, one of seven siblings, owns his own masonry business, she said. He is married to wife Pam and has two daughters, MacKenzie, 10, and Madison, 8, Phillips said.
Though he was groggy Sunday, Foust repeatedly asked family members about Dylan, she said.
"He's so, so upset about his son," Phillips said.
She said Dylan is "all boy" and told her he scored two goals at his hockey game this weekend.
Relatives are also trying to figure out how they can keep Foust's masonry business alive while he recovers, she said.
Crowders Mountain State Park Superintendent Larry Hyde offers these tips for a safe visit to the park:
• Hike only on designated trails
• Read park signs carefully
• Carry a cell phone