22-year-old Colby Ellis got severely injured in a tree climbing incident in the Nantahala Gorge in North Carolina.
Colby was employed as a tour guide, giving zip line tours at the Nantahala Gorge Canopy tours company. The day of the accident, Ellis was hiking in the area after work when he saw vines going up a tree and started climbing them.
The vines broke because of the man's weight and his landing wasn't pretty.
“A co-worker, Micah Loyd, and I had the day off and decided to go explore the mountain. I spotted a series of vines going up a tree and decided to climb them. […] When I was about five feet up, the vine gave way. I landed on my feet but when I bent to absorb the landing, a branch punctured my face,” he described to the Daily Mail
A small, but sharp branch pierced the area under his eyebrow, making it all the way to the other side. A part of the branch punctured his cheek, in the area right below his eye ball.
The two men were both trained in giving first aid, and didn't take out the branch. In order to avoid the costs of calling an ambulance in that remote part of the woods, they hiked their way to the road where his friend's car was parked.
“I did not want to pay for an ambulance if I could help it as they are quite expensive here. We then drove to the hospital in nearby Bryson, but they don't have a trauma center,” the man explained.
From the Bryson, he was sent by ambulance to the Mission hospital in Asheville, during which time the branches were still attached to his face.
Thankfully, Ellis neither lost an eye nor suffered permanent nerve damage.