Rescued hiker talks about his experience, thanks rescuers - Tucson News Now

Rescued hiker talks about his experience, thanks rescuers

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Just a week after being rescued in the Tanque Verde Falls, Jorge Flores thinks about what could have turned into a tragedy for him and his 4-year-old cousin.

"I had my cousin on my back he's a 4-year-old and we were just playing and we walked up-stream," the teen said. "We were on these two rocks. I saw the water coming. I tried to get out but I couldn't. I didn't want him to fall and me watching him float away."

The deputies who helped rescue Jorge and his cousin spoke about them at a news conference last week.

"It's tough when you can't get to them and telling people we have to watch if they go down and see where they go it just gets difficult any time you bring a kid into it, it's a tough situation."

The water the two were stuck in was between 8-feet and 9-feet deep, but then things got worse.

"One of the waves came and hit my little cousin he started falling off the rock. I grabbed him and that's when I went under water and I was holding him up like this for 10 seconds he pulled me back up and that's where i got this bruise on my neck," Flores said. 

If Flores looks a familiar, he was a big part of the Tucson High School Football team last season. The former quarterback had one goal once that water started rushing towards his little cousin: to save him.

"I was scared, but once I had seen his face I just kicked into, like, survival mode. That was the way my dad brought me up: save others if you can. I got him on my back and told him just wait until help comes."

They survived. They were two of 17 people rescued by helicopter from the falls, over a two-day period.

"I am grateful for them ... and I honestly want to be a cop when I grow up because I want to help people like they helped us," Flores said. "I thank them every day that I am still alive and I get to see my cousin wake up every morning."  

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