Teen Survives 400-Foot Fall from Iconic Bridge

A 19-year-old miraculously survived a 400-foot plunge into a canyon below the High Steel Bridge in Washington state during the Memorial Day weekend, according to local authorities. The young man, whose identity has not been disclosed, was attempting to navigate beneath the bridge on Saturday when he fell.

The High Steel Bridge, one of the tallest railroad bridges in the United States, was constructed by the Simpson Logging company in 1929. It was later transformed into a roadway in the mid-20th century, as per the Washington Trails Association (WTA). The area surrounding the bridge is known for its treacherous terrain, which often deceives visitors.

The young man was reportedly traversing a washout, a path worn by many visitors that has inadvertently become a trail. However, West Mason Fire Chief Matthew Welander emphasized that this path is not an official trail. Its steepness and slippery conditions led to the teenager’s fall, which ended with him sliding all the way down to the river.

Despite the severity of the fall, the teenager sustained only minor injuries. Images shared by the sheriff’s office depict the rescue operation, where a firefighter used a rope and harness to scale the bridge and retrieve the young man. Welander described the rescue, stating that they hooked the teenager into a harness and hoisted him back up to safety.

Authorities have expressed concern over the lack of respect for the dangerous nature of the area. Warning signs are scattered around the canyon, cautioning visitors about the slippery, steep, and unsafe conditions around the High Steel Bridge. Despite these warnings, rescue teams are called to the area three to five times a year.

The High Steel Bridge, a 685-foot-long truss arch bridge, towers 365 feet above the south fork of the Skokomish River in Mason County. Its imposing height and the deceptive terrain surrounding it continue to pose risks for those who venture too close.