UPDATE: Eric Burnett, 31, of Purlear, injured Tuesday at the Devil's Wash Tub on Fall Creek, was released from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem Wednesday evening. Burnett told the Wilkes Journal-Patriot Thursday that he can walk with a walker now but still is experiencing pain.
A man injured Tuesday at a swimming hole called the Devil’s Wash tub on Fall Creek in far western Wilkes County was still a patient at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem Wednesday afternoon, but a hospital spokesman said he was in "good condition."
Eric Burnett, 31, of Purlear, told the Wilkes Journal-Patriot by Facebook from his hospital room Tuesday, “I'm healing. Got a fracture in my back and foot. The feeling in my left leg has come back, but not fully. But more than yesterday. I will just have to walk with a walker and back brace for a few weeks. Other than that, I'm Ok.”
Burnett said he was getting ready to jump from a rock cliff into the Devil’s Wash Tub “and kinda’ hesitated. But then I slipped ‘cause I was too close.”
The incident was recorded on video by one of the people with Burnett at the Devil’s Wash Tub. Burnett gave the Wilkes Journal-Patriot permission to post the 52-second-long video on the newspaper’s website (www.journalpatriot.com) after it was posted on his Facebook page and on YouTube.
The video also shows another man jumping into the Devil’s Wash Tub without being injured, just before Burnett had his turn, landed on his buttocks on a rock ledge at the creek’s edge and then slid into the swiftly flowing water. The man who had just jumped rushed to Burnett’s aid and helped him out of the water.
One of the people at the scene dialed 911 with a cell phone and Wilkes Emergency Medical Services, the Wilkes Rescue Squad and Champion Fire Department were dispatched at about 2:05 p.m.
Emergency personnel found Burnett near the edge of Fall Creek with his companions on the west side of Fall Creek and carried him in a metal Stokes basket across the creek to a trail on the other side. They said he had abrasions and a loss of sensation in his legs.
He was carried several hundred yards on that trail, going upstream parallel to Fall Creek, and then across the creek again to reach a Wilkes EMS ambulance parked on Fall Creek Road. Burnett’s accident occurred on the west side of the creek, which is same side as Fall Creek Road.
There is a more direct and shorter trail to Fall Creek Road from near where Burnett fell, but it goes up a very steep and rocky slope.
The ambulance transported Burnett about three miles to an AirCare helicopter that had landed in a privately-owned field along the South Prong of Lewis Fork Creek and U.S. 421 West in the Maple Springs section of Purlear.
Champion Fire Chief Craig Hollar said that from the time emergency personnel arrived on the scene, it took about an hour and a half to get the victim from Fall Creek to the ambulance on Fall Creek Road.
The Devil’s Wash Tub is on private property in the Purlear area. Owners of the property have posted “no trespassing” signs and say they strongly advise people against jumping from rocks into the Devil’s Wash Tub. Numerous people have been injured there.