Christiansburg woman recovering after falling from waterfall

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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) A Christiansburg woman is home recovering after falling nearly 40 feet off a waterfall in Montgomery County.

Kalea Duke and her friend Kayla McGuire were spending a day off at Camp Alta Mons in Shawsville.

The two were climbing down from the top of the waterfall there, when Kalea fell.

"I got my foot caught and I started falling back and Kayla grabbed me, and I kind of let her go, and I rode it down like a slide," Kalea said.

Kayla added, "The first thought I had was, 'Oh my God she's dead or she's paralyzed, she can't walk!'"

But she could. They got Kalea out of the water and walking, but she was in pain and her back began to swell.

"My adrenaline kicked in and I just started to run," Kayla said. "So I ran the whole two mile trail, I was able to contact the camp office and then the police and tell them what happened."

"It was scary just being by yourself," Kalea said.

EMTs were on scene shortly and took Kalea to Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

The fall fractured two vertebrae in Kalea's back, shattering one of them and leaving a piece leaning against her spine. It would require invasive surgery to repair.

"I got, all together, 10 screws and 2 rods to lift that pressure off my spinal cord so I'll be able to walk," Kalea said.

She had to move back in with her mother and stepfather, can't drive, and can't work until her doctors say it's okay.

It will be at least one year before she's fully healed.

"That broke my heart that she can't do the same things that she was going to do," Kayla said. "Tomorrow is going to be different than it would have been."

Kayla launched a GoFundMe page for her friend to help with expenses while she recovers. A link to the GoFundMe page is available under the Related Links section of this article.