(PHOENIX) — A Texas woman narrowly escaped a terrifying fall at the Grand Canyon after she slipped and almost stepped off a ledge.
Emily Koford, 20, was hiking at the Arizona attraction on Monday with her mom Erin when the two went to a rock near the edge of the rim for a photo.
Erin Koford was standing near the edge when her daughter began backing up with the camera, still facing her mom, trying to get a full-body shot.
“She kept going backwards. I looked out and I saw how close she was to the edge and I said, ‘don’t take another step back,’ and she did,” Erin Koford told ABC News on Friday.
“My stomach went up into my chest,” she said when she saw her daughter stumble.
Emily Koford’s foot stepped off the ledge, onto a lower rock, and she managed to catch her balance using her hands.
The ordeal was caught on video by a passerby who noticed the two posing on the rock and wanted to show his kids “the stuff you don’t do.”
“Then they’re walking around and I think, this doesn’t look good,” Kevin Fox, who took the video, told ABC News on Friday. “As she starts walking backwards, I just gasp.”
Erin Koford said her daughter, who is from Austin but attends school around the Grand Canyon, assumed her mom was telling her not to step back anymore for the photo, not realizing it was for her safety.
“I don’t think she was really aware of how dangerous that was. I could see exactly what would happen if she fell,” her mom said.
Both are grateful that nothing worse happened, and are using the opportunity to be as careful as possible next time.
“We’ll probably go back to the Grand Canyon,” Erin Koford said, “but we probably won’t do that again.”
While dying from heat or dehydration is more common than falling off the edge in the Grand Canyon, it is still a “major concern,” according to the Grand Canyon’s website. About 12 deaths happen each year, with two to three from falls over the rim, according to park spokeswoman Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski.
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