BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Two young boys whose parents died in a fall off a 200-foot (61-meter) cliff during a family hiking trip with them are out of the hospital and are recovering at home.
Relatives of 4-year-old Alexander Green and 7-year-old Jacob Green said Tuesday the boys are surrounded by family and friends as they recover from the Aug. 20 accident in the Zoar Valley Gorge, 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of Buffalo.
Parents William and Amanda Green, of Buffalo, and Alexander fell off the cliff and were found by other hikers at the bottom of the gorge. The parents were dead, and Alexander, who was nearby, was severely injured. Jacob was found injured hours later wandering the gorge floor alone.
The Green family, in a statement released by Amanda Green’s employer, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, said it wanted to thank people for “their thoughts, prayers and well wishes.”
The statement said the boys, known as Xander and Jake, “continue to amaze us with their perseverance, and watching them get stronger by the day is nothing short of a miracle.”
The Erie County sheriff’s office said the Greens were hiking in the rugged Zoar Valley, a popular hiking and kayaking spot. Something went horribly wrong, and the parents and Alexander wound up at the bottom of the cliff, near the banks of Cattaraugus Creek, authorities said. After the Greens were found, a police helicopter crew rescued the younger boy.
A police sheriff’s detective later found Jacob. It’s unclear if Jacob fell along with his parents and younger brother.
Jacob suffered a broken right arm and ankle and was released from a Buffalo hospital at the end of August, while Alexander suffered internal injuries and a head injury and was released in mid-September, family spokesman Kyle Rogers said.
Sheriff Timothy Howard said the investigation into what happened on the family outing remains open. He said investigators haven’t spoken to the boys and “will only do so when the family and the boys are prepared to speak.”
A photo released by the family on Tuesday shows the boys smiling in wheelchairs surrounded by police and emergency mascot characters while attending a community event in the suburb of Orchard Park on Sept. 10.