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Injured hiker shares story of fear and rescue

Matthew Corcoran was rescued by helicopter off of Mt. Savona Friday after breaking his arm and leg while hiking.
May 10, 2014 - 11:28 AM


KAMLOOPS — An infatuation with actress Emma Watson helped a 28-year-old man get through six hours of waiting for help after a dislodged boulder broke several of his bones while hiking on Mt. Savona.

Matthew Corcoran, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome as a teen, was hiking with a friend just after noon on Friday, May 2 with a goal of the Savona Caves in mind. Corcoran says it was really rocky terrain and they were taking their time because the rocks were loose.

About 20 minutes into the hike Corcoran tried to push himself over a rock that seemed stable but instead the boulder dislodged, rolling onto his leg and crushing his arm.

“I was screaming, calling for help. (My friend) lifted the boulder off my leg,” Corcoran says, adding “(The gash on my arm) was quite deep, I could see white, but it didn’t bleed a lot.”

They knew right away something was wrong with his leg as well. His shoe had partially come off and his foot was pointed in a weird angle.

“It looked dramatic. It looked pretty gross,” he recounts. “You could see it was broken… but I couldn’t feel it.”

The pair was lucky. They were able to get a call out to 9-1-1 as many spots in the area don't get reception. Search and rescue teams from Kamloops, Logan Lake and Nicola Valley were soon on their way, along with an ambulance crew. Before crews could get to him though Corcoran began to panic.

His friend says Corcoran showed courage and endurance but Corcoran says it came in waves and in between he would yell and scream and give up hope.

Sitting in a hospital bed with his arm in a cast and pins through his ankle, Corcoran explains as a person with Asperger’s, which is on the ‘high functioning’ end of the autism spectrum disorder, he is prone to hypersensitivity with sounds, emotions and stress. He has a hard time socializing, is easily obsessed and easily depressed.

The number of rescuers, the stress of the situation and the sounds from the helicopter sent to rescue him from the steep, rocky terrain could have all easily led to a breakdown where Corcoran retreats into his own head and ‘completely shuts down.’

As an ‘Aspy’ Corcoran says he has obsessive tendencies, usually centred around music, movies and movie stars. For the last several years Emma Watson, an actress well known for her role in the Harry Potter series, has been the ‘love his life’, his ‘obsession.’

Thoughts of a life with Watson and of her returning his love helped him endure the pain of his broken arm and a leg broken in three spots.

He admits he had a few moments of ‘irrational’ thoughts when he believed rescuers had abandoned him. When they did show up a short time later he was more relaxed.

“It was relaxing, reassuring to see the group of rescuers,” he says. “They did such a great job. I’d say to anyone, if they’ve got them they’re in good hands.”

Even with all his anxiety Corcoran enjoyed getting a ride to safety in a bag hanging from a long line attached to the bottom of a helicopter.

“It was freakin’ fun!”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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