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Teen fell 50 feet from Texas bridge while taking a selfie. How doctors say he survived

Triston Bailey, 18, survived a 50-foot fall from Margaret McDermott Bridge in Dallas in Nov. 2018.
Triston Bailey, 18, survived a 50-foot fall from Margaret McDermott Bridge in Dallas in Nov. 2018.

A broken pelvis. Busted ribs. A fractured face, and a lacerated spleen.

That’s how 18-year-old Triston Bailey was carted into Methodist Dallas Medical Center after a 50-foot fall in Nov. 2018, according to a news release.

He fell while taking a selfie from the Margaret McDermott Bridge near downtown Dallas, the hospital announced this week. His doctors say it’s a miracle that Triston Bailey is alive, KTVT reported.

“I could have easily passed away that night,” Bailey told the station. “Easily could have been gone, if it was just one more rotation [in the air], I would not be here.”

The last thing Bailey remembers about that night is stopping along the bridge after going to a Dallas Stars hockey game, the release says. As he tried to move from the roadway bridge to the pedestrian walkway, he fell through a gap, according to KXAS.

His doctors didn’t shy away from using the word “miraculous” to describe his survival.

bridgegap.jpg
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

“One more turn or one more twist, it’s amazing he didn’t snap his neck,” Dr. Joseph Darryl Amos, trauma chief at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, told KDFW. “It’s amazing he’s not a paraplegic or broke his back or he could’ve hit a stone in the middle of that field and fractured his skull and not been here. This is a constellation of miraculous little events that occurred.”

“Triston just happened to stop at the one perfect spot that cushioned his landing,” Dr. Edgar Araiza, Bailey’s orthopedic surgeon, told the station.

Before the fall, Bailey, a Mansfield, Texas resident, had plans to enter the Air Force, the release states. He’s up and walking again, after spending nearly four months in a wheelchair, KERA reported.

He told the station that he still hopes to enlist when he’s fully recovered.

At least 250 people worldwide died while taking selfies between 2011 through Oct. 2018, CNN reported. One of those cases was another man who fell 40 feet from a Texas highway bridge, this time in Galveston.

The authorities who fished 38-year-old Billie Gerard Pettice out of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in June 2018 found out he had an open robbery warrant in Louisiana, and arrested him, and his broken lungs, the Galveston Daily News reported at the time.

Police say a bicyclist who weaved past the gates blocking access to a bridge over a river in eastern Wisconsin escaped serious injury after falling into the gap that was created when the bridge started to rise.

Matt is an award-winning real time reporter and a University of Texas at Austin graduate who’s been based at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 2011. His regional focus is Texas, and that makes sense. He’s only lived there his whole life.

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