JOPLIN, Mo. — Almost two years ago, it seemed like just any other day. A Joplin man went mountain biking with some friends and colleagues at a popular local trail.

But everything changed when he fell more than 50 feet off a cliff…and lived to tell the story.

“I realize I’m going down, and this is as bad as it can be,” said Thad Torix, Fell off cliff.

Torix was mountain biking with several of his friends at Mother Nature’s Crack in Joplin back on August 7th, 2020.

“I don’t have a helmet on. It never really occurred to me that we’d be this close to danger. I don’t think it occurred to any of us,” said Torix.

“You could hear shuffling of the rock. Something slid and then you could immediately hear Thad shouting, and then a big crash,” said Shiloh Williams, Colleague and Friend.

Shiloh was one of the people with Thad that day.

“I knew it was a really far fall, and I didn’t think he would have lived through that,” said Williams.

He had fallen about 5 stories, 50 feet and 3 inches to be exact, and Shiloh rushed to go find help.

“I ran to the nearest house because it was way closer than any of our cell phones,” said Williams.

“She ran so hard, she got sick while she was running. Didn’t stop. Just got sick while she was running and got help,” said Torix.

Shiloh then returned to Thad’s side to wait for paramedics, as he faintly cried for help.

“Just a very, very quiet ‘Help. Lord, Jesus, help me, help me.’ It was very, very faint. You couldn’t really hear it until you walked up to him and, he had asked, just, ‘Will you hold my hand? I don’t want to sit here by myself,” said Williams.

Torix is a former paramedic and knew it was probably not a survivable injury.

“Thad, in Thad fashion, just started talking and ‘I used to be a paramedic, I used to be a cop. Tell me what’s really going on.’,” said Williams.

“I’m told that I was awake the whole time, and no surprise to anyone, I ran my mouth the entire time,” said Torix.

Shiloh says Thad then surprisingly asked to take a selfie.

“OK, it’s going to be okay. Thad just cracked a joke. Thad just asked for a selfie. It’s all gonna be okay,” said Williams.

But Thad was badly injured. He had a traumatic brain injury, a broken neck, five fractures in his spine, several broken ribs, both lungs were punctured, his pelvis had an open book fracture, and his left tibia was broken.

“I love this Earth. This is one of the few places in Missouri I really do love. But, this particular spot right here. I have a burning hatred for it. It has taken so much from me,” said Torix.

He spent 67 days in the hospital and went through months of physical therapy. He also lost some important relationships along the way.

It’s a downright miracle he’s walking and standing before us today.

“To acknowledge everything he’s experienced along the way, just shows even more strength and it’s very admirable,” said Williams.

“Man, every moment matters. There’s no such thing as a trivial encounter. I don’t care if that’s with the person making your coffee or the physician saving your life. Every moment matters,” said Torix.

Thad credits many people for saving his life that day, including the Redings Mill and Joplin Fire crews who responded, several paramedics and hospital personnel he knew personally.

He even acknowledged the Keller Williams Realty Group he works with, which helped raise money for his recovery.