13-Year-Old Boy Scout Helps Save Dad After Hiking Accident

A 13-year-old put his Boy Scout training to the test and helped rescue his father after he was hit by a refrigerator-sized boulder during a backpacking trip in Idaho last Monday.  

A week into what was supposed to be a 12-day trip at Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, a large boulder fell on David Finlayson, 52, knocking him down 20 or 30 feet, NBC affiliate KTVB reported.

The elder Finlayson broke his left arm and leg. He also started to lose blood because of gash in his shin.

“At first I was freaking out a little bit, but after a few minutes I kind of calmed down and thought, ‘I have to help him out,’" Charlie Finlayson told KTVB.

Charlie, who just started 8th grade, ran one mile back to their camp site to get a first aid kit and sleeping bag to keep his father warm. The next day Charlie cared for his dad who dragged himself back to the camp. 

Charlie checked nearby campsites for other hikers, but no one was around. The son and father decided Charlie would hike back 13 miles alone to get help. David wrote a note for Charlie to take with him. 

“I cannot walk so I need a rescue, unfortunately," the note read. "Please help Charlie find one for me."

On the hike back, Charlie ran into three members from his Mormon church who went and took care of his dad. Charlie also saw another man on the trail, who helped call authorities, according to KTVB. A helicopter airlifted David to a hospital, where he got two surgeries and will need more.

Charlie’s mother, Katie Wilstead, said she was not surprised by her son’s actions.

“It’s just how he is,” she said. “It’s nothing I did. It’s just how he came.”

Charlie said he and his father are planning another camping trip, but that this time they’ll be sure to bring a radio.  

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