Bob Roth sustained a serious fracture to his C6 vertebra and is awaiting surgery on his right foot after fracturing his heel in five places, according to wife Char Roth.
The 63-year-old Mill Bay resident had fallen not 100 feet as reported, but about 200 feet off a cliff on his property while clearing brush on Oct. 22.
“That makes it even more miraculous that he lived,” Char said of the extra height.
She said her husband remembers the fall.
“There is no paralysis, no head injury, and no internal injuries that we know of,” she said.
“It truly is a miracle.”
About 30 rescuers from three fire departments (Malahat, Shawnigan Lake, and Mill Bay) attended to the injured man after a mix-up with his dog appears to have sent him tumbling.
Char doesn’t believe the dog knocked her spouse off the cliff, although the dog “definitely had something to do with it,” she said.
Bob Roth came to rest on a little bit of a flat spot but found himself stuck between a tree and the rock face.
“The terrain down there is so full of surrounding deadfall, and it was literally a rock cliff he fell down. It’s amazing he didn’t hit any of that.”
It took rescuers some time to get rigged up and over the bank to their patient, and then even more time to get him back up and to the waiting ambulance and off to hospital in Victoria.
First responders were only able to be alerted of the incident because Char insisted her husband take his phone with him whenever he worked in the yard.
“What saved him was having his phone with him,” she said. “It didn’t even break in the fall. It’s one miracle after another.”
Char credits Bob’s fitness for his ability to endure such serious injuries.
“He’s extremely fit. He’s very, very healthy. He works out daily,” she said. “All the doctors have said if he wasn’t in such good physical condition, he wouldn’t have survived the fall.”
— with files from Kevin Rothbauer