Hero teen saves friend from failed cliff jump

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) A hero at Hippie Hole saved his friend’s life after a botched cliff jump left 16-year-old Julian Vigil unconscious and face down in the water. The incident happened Thursday, July 6.

Cell phone video captured the teen attempted a flip from one of the higher jumping spots when it all goes horribly wrong. In the video you can see Julian over rotates, landing on his face and neck – knocking him out cold.

Moments after hitting the water, friend Nathaniel Woodard realized something is wrong. Putting down his phone, he and another friend jump in after Julian.

“I saw him shaking real bad and we all jumped in – he just didn't stop shaking,” Nathaniel said. “I hugged him from behind and pulled him out of the water.”

The problems didn’t end after Julian regained consciousness minutes later. Nathaniel said Julian didn’t recognize where he was or what had happened. Paramedics would later tell Julian he suffered a concussion.
While Nathaniel tried to get Julian to recognize his surroundings by asking questions like, “what year is it,” and “do you know who the president is,” life flight was called in.

“We pulled him out of the water but he wasn't responding to us. He started remembering the date, the president, those simple questions." Nathaniel says his brother, who is paramedic, but was not on scene, is part of the reason why he knew how to handle his friend’s concussion.

Life flight was ultimately called off and Julian was able to make his way out of the canyon and back to the parking area where paramedics were waiting.

The hike itself is no slouch. The parking area is located several miles outside of Rockerville with another mile of strenuous hiking down to Battle Creek which ultimately feeds the falls at Hippie Hole.

Stefanii Brave, Nathaniel’s mother, says despite being a mellow and somewhat shy child, the act of heroics from her son is no surprise.

“He was able to think quickly, remain calm and he did what he had to do.” Brave said, adding, “he’s a hero.”