Northern state fisherman, missing for days, grateful to be alive

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GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Jeffrey Griffith is finally home after he disappeared in Oconee County this weekend. Rescue teams and his family members searched for days, before being found on Monday morning.

“It was a bit traumatic. I was just worried about my family. I was just worried they wouldn’t know where I was, ”Griffith said.

Griffith took a single day fishing trip to the Chattoga River near Oconee State Park.

“Friday I had a day off and it’s a good time of year. I like to go fly fishing. I have been doing this for a very long time I love going to the mountains, the Chattooga River. One of my fishing spots where I go. And I wanted to go up, do some fishing that day. The weather was fine and I made my way to my seat off of Highway 107, Big Bend Road. I know a trail that goes down, there’s a nice fishing hole there and I started working downstream, as I normally do, ”Griffith said.

Griffith said suddenly, something unexpected happened, as he tried to throw a trout.

“I saw a fish in the water, how the trout heave up and sort of kiss the top of the water, so I waded through the water towards it so that I could get close enough to throw it. , and I was working my way. I was in the water up to my thigh and tripped over a rock a bit and tried to catch up and my left foot fell and went off. sort of stuck between two rocks and I started going down and my body kinda twisted, and it twisted my knee a little bit. I fell into the water, the current started to push me downstream I was kinda in the middle of the river, ”Griffith said.

Griffith then went into survivor mode.

“I just wanted to get to shore as quickly as possible because I knew that downstream there were more dangerous areas,” Griffith said.

For days, Griffith’s goal was to make his way through and out alive.

“But the terrain was such, and my leg was aching. It was really slow and as night fell I knew I was going to have to spend the night there, ”Griffith said. “And as it was almost dark, I started to wonder what gear I had with me. I always have survival gear with me. I had a headlamp, waterproof matches, ”Griffith said. “I had some food with me. I had two water bottles and was trying to conserve my food and water at that time.

He also had an emergency blanket that kept him warm.

“The rain. It was raining so hard, and I was starting to get weak and had no food left by that time. I went pretty much all day Sunday without food,” Griffith said. Sunday night when it started to rain I just huddled under my emergency blanket and kind of wrapped myself in it and just waited for the day “

As he waited for Monday, Griffith said his body had weakened, but had gained strength through his faith.

“I thought I heard voices, not like people screaming but just like whispers, conversations, and I think what I was hearing were all the prayers offered for me,” Griffith said.

Monday morning, he finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Around 10:30 am is when I saw someone uphill on the other side, and tried to get their attention, but they weren’t close enough to me,” Griffith said. “I called, they saw me. There were three people. And they asked who are you, and I said, I’m Jeff. And there was a lady there and she said where do you work? What I thought was a strange question, and I said, “I work at Hobby Lobby,” he said. “And she said it was Melissa, I work there too,” Griffith said. “And I couldn’t believe someone I work with was looking for me,” he said. “I was just relieved. Pure relief. All the adrenaline kind of rushed out of my body, and I just sat down and was just overjoyed.

Although he said it was an experience, he hopes his trip can give people hope.

“I said to myself, you have to adapt, you have to overcome the situation. you have to stay positive. You can’t give up, ”Griffith said.

Now he thanks many people, including first responders, his family and colleagues, for helping him get home alive.

“I just want to thank everyone who picked me up,” Griffith said. “I don’t know where I would be,” he added. “Very grateful. Very blessed. I mean it was a test, I’m not going to lie. I had a few questions about the outcome, but I never gave up hope. I knew if people knew that I ‘was there, they would come and get me. And I also knew that if I had to go out on my own, I was going to do whatever it took to get me home.


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