BOISE, Idaho — A hunter who crawled for days after breaking his leg in rugged central Idaho is recovering in a Boise hospital.
John Sain was tracking an elk alone in remote wilderness near McCall last week when his foot slipped between two logs and he fell. The accident broke both of the bones in Sain’s lower leg, leaving him badly injured and unable to walk.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it out,” said Sain, a Darby, Montana, native who lives in Riverside, California.
The 50-year-old was miles from the trail, didn’t have cellphone service and was in a lot of pain. He briefly considered suicide, Sain said.
“Contemplated on just ending it right there honestly,” he said.
But he changed his mind after writing goodbye letters to his wife and kids. Sain made a splint out of sticks and ripped cloth and began the arduous crawl toward the trail.
He had a little food, a water purifier and a small survival kit, and he built a fire each night for warmth. But on Sunday — four days after his ordeal began — Sain was dehydrated, in pain and starting to break down. That’s when two motorcyclists found him and summoned emergency crews.
“Thank God. I was praying the whole way that it would happen and it did. My prayers were answered for sure,” Sain said.
The motorcyclists chopped down some trees to clear a landing space for an air ambulance. Sain was flown to a Boise hospital, where he is expected to stay for a few more days while he recovers from leg surgery.
Sain’s wife, Jennifer Sain, and their two kids flew to Boise to be with him.
“It was hard just knowing that he’s out in the hills just trying to stay alive,” Jennifer Sain said. “It still doesn’t seem real to me.”
Sain is an experienced hunter who often hunts alone.
He plans to go hunting alone again, but not without a satellite phone or GPS locator.