Locator beacon saves man after Mount Jefferson fall

Locator beacon saves man after Mount Jefferson fall »Play Video
Michael Smilenski, 56, speaks to the media Sunday, July 20, 2014, after falling 100 feet Friday while hiking near Mount Jefferson.

SALEM, Ore. -- Maybe it's the medication. Or it could be the support from friends, who brought a juicer to his hospital room, that put Miko Smilenski in a better mood.

But for a man who tumbled 100 feet down Mount Jefferson shattering his leg in four places,  Smilenski is in great spirits.

"I wasn't scared. I was thinking what can I do to make this turn out the best?" Smilenski said.

Smilenski went hiking on Mount Jefferson on Friday. He decided to ski back down, when he ran into trouble.

"The velocity and acceleration got to be so great I said this is it I'm getting knocked out, this is it!" Smilenski said.

When he came to, he had a pair of black eyes, a broken leg and a real headache.

Soon he realized he would need some help.

So he activated his personal locator beacon, something he never thought he'd need.

"I got this thing (and told my friends) I don't want you to worry about me, but  just know this, it's not going to be me that's getting lifted out. That was a dumb thing to say wasn't it?" Smilenski chuckled.

The GPS signal was picked up 3,000 miles away by a special team at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. They traced it to Mount Jefferson and two Oregon National Guard helicopters showed up nine hours later.

Smilenski is feeling fine and no doubt planning a return trip, but this time he says he'll try to convince a friend to come along with him.