A Seneca Falls native has a new outlook on life following a recent scare. Marissa Peone is a college student studying in Hawaii for the semester. Last week, she went on a hike to a local waterfall, where slipped and fell to the ground below. Fortunately, she lived to tell about it and she shared her story with our Iris St. Meran.
HAWAII -- Seneca Falls native and Ohio University student Marissa Peone is part of a study program in Hawaii this semester. The marine biology major has been taking in many of the sites and tourist destinations. On her list of places: Ka'Au Crater.
Peone said, "I Looked it up online then read more about it. Saw that it was very muddy, but pretty beautiful waterfalls in the middle."
Last Saturday, she and a friend set out on what would be a six hour hike. Like the online search indicated, she said it was muddy and the path was narrow. The two made it to the top of the waterfall and that's when things quickly changed.
"I was just standing on a normal rock. You could see footprints, thought it was just normal to just go take a look at the water,” Peone added. “Stepped on the rock the wrong way and just went off."
She says it was about a 50 foot drop on top of a rocky area and then she blacked out.
She recalled, "My first thought was I'm dying. I'm not going to wake up from this. I thought of my parents. I thought 'I'm dead. There's absolutely no way I'm going to wake up from this.'"
She did and she remembers how cold the water was. She credits her backpack for cushioning the fall and preventing her head from slamming onto the rock. Her friend called 911 for help and two men came to her aid until the ambulance arrived and she was airlifted to the hospital.
Marissa Peone only left the hospital with just a bruise on her backside. It's an understatement to say she's lucky to be alive, especially knowing a week before her hike a woman fell from the waterfall and didn't make it out.
"My faith in God is completely restored. Angels were looking out for me that day. He was looking out for me that day because there's no way, absolutely no way I should be here right now," Peone said.
She considers herself an adventurous person, but says she's going to take it easy for the remainder of her semester. Peone traveled there to learn more and expand on her skills. But her biggest lesson was outside the classroom and the subject was life.
When talking about what she learned from this experience, she said, "Don't take anything, literally nothing for granted. You don't know ever know what's going to happen. Anything can come at you unexpectedly. You just have to take it one day at a time, be thankful for your friends and your family and what you have."
By all accounts, she passed the test and is now teaching others.