LAYTON, Utah (ABC4) — Barney and Andrea Bartling, a couple from Layton, are thankful for the heroic actions of strangers who prevented a tragedy from happening on the eve of their 42nd wedding anniversary.
On Memorial Day, Barney Bartling was hiking the Adams Canyon Trail when he lost his footing and fell into swift water. He couldn’t get out of the water on his own, but strangers rushed to his aid.
“I don’t think I would have made it without them,” Barney Bartling told ABC4 News through teary eyes.
On Wednesday, Barney Bartling is still sore and scrapped up from his fall, but he is doing well. He and his wife are filled with gratitude and love for his rescuers.
“I realized at some point that I couldn’t get up,” he recounted. “The water was holding me against this rock. I could not move. Panic starts to set in a little bit. You start to get a little worried.”
He said the trail was busy that day with other people who were out enjoying the holiday, luckily for him.
“The guy behind me saw the whole thing,” Barney Bartling said. “He jumped in and he picked me up out of the water. He was holding on to me really tight and walked me up, completely out of the water.”
As Barney Bartling sat down next to the water, he said it seemed like dozens of people seemingly appeared out of thin air. They rushed to his side. He said one man used his shirt to dry him off, women pulled bandages out of their bags and one woman, who said she worked in the medical field, checked him for a concussion, others called 911.
When they got the bleeding under control, a handful of people helped him walk back down the mountain to meet the paramedics.
“We stood up, and they wouldn’t let go of me for nothing,” Bartling added.
Andrea Bartling was at home when the incident occurred. Her husband had lost his phone in the water, and she had no idea he had fallen into the water.
“Three hours passed by, and I was beginning to worry,” she stated.
Just as she really started to get worried, he walked in the door. He made his way to the room she was in, and his appearance came as a shock.
“I thought he got beat up,” she said. “I thought someone had beaten him up.”
This happened the day before the couple’s 42nd anniversary.
“I kind of panic and he goes, ‘No, I fell off the mountain,’” Andrea Bartling told ABC4 through a giggle. To his story, she replied: “Okay dear, I know you didn’t want to take me to anniversary dinner, but you didn’t have to fall off the mountain for me.”
The couple laughs now, but they are extremely grateful for the overwhelming care from complete strangers which allowed Barney Bartling to make it home for their anniversary.
“It was like little angels were coming out of the sky to help him,” Andrea Bartling said. “I wish I had names and numbers. I would call every single one.”
Barney Bartling agreed.
“I said it to them all the way down the mountain, but I can’t say it enough: ‘Thank you for the help,” he said. “I don’t think I would have made it without them.”
The couple had to push back their anniversary plans due to the accident but say the strangers who helped gave them the best gift.
Andrea Bartling told ABC4 that her husband lost his phone in the river but was most upset that he lost his favorite LA Rams hat as they are big fans of the team. Their apartment has team regalia throughout, and Andrea Bartling wore an LA Rams sweater during the interview. When one Layton family heard about the accident, they reached out on Facebook and offered to get Barney Bartling a new hat.