NEVADA COUNTY (CBS13) — A man who spent a night on a rock ledge waiting for help after he was stranded and injured in Nevada County spoke to CBS13 on Monday.
It was a daring rescue after hours of agony. California Highway Patrol video shows Anthony Rissone, 26, being hoisted to safety near the Emerald Pools area, not far from Emigrant Gap.
"I thought, you know, maybe I'm just going to die out here," he said.
At times, he said he was panicked as he was stuck on a rock face, alone, cold and injured.
"I was like, 'I am completely screwed. There is no way I can get out of this; I cannot put enough pressure on my leg to climb out,'" he said.
The experienced hiker admits he made some major mistakes this weekend. He separated from his friends to use the bathroom, then couldn't find them again. He went farther and farther in the wrong direction without any supplies.
"Then I got to a high point, and I looked down and the I'm like, 'They are nowhere over here,'" he said.
Then he slipped, badly injuring his knee. He was stuck for hours, wondering if he would be found.
A CHP helicopter spotted Rissone using infrared technology, but at that time, there wasn't enough light to rescue him. He spent the night in a swimsuit in the cold.
"I was just hiding behind rocks, trying to keep warm, in like a fetal position," he said.
After hours of shivering and waiting, occasionally eating ants, Rissone was rescued with the help of Nevada County and Truckee rescue crews.
He was lifted to safety with a badly injured knee, but he's thankful to be alive and grateful for his rescuers. He warned other hikers not to be so foolish.
"I do a lot of hiking, and so my ego got ahead of me, and my overconfidence got the better of me. Even if you're an experienced hiker, don't let that happen," he said.
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