Local teens talk about near-death camping experience up north

Posted at 7:07 PM, Aug 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 09:58:16-04

A hiking trip during summer camp almost turns deadly two young teens while up north.

Kaylie Eisenberg and Dresden Cogan have been through just about everything together, including escaping death.

The 15-year-olds were on a camping trip, just a month ago up in Isle Royal when suddenly they went through a nightmare.

 “That day we had just gotten done with a four-mile hike. We get to the camp and set up our hammock,” said the girls who were also with another friend. 

 Then the girls heard a crack.

“Basically it was like slow motion. It happened to so fast. I just heard them screaming and then you could see a tree coming down. Just very terrifying,” said the girls.

A large, dead tree landed on the girls.

“I dug my way out of the tree,” said Dresden. “I don’t know how I did that and then I stood up and said 'Kaylie, I’m coming' and then I collapsed because at the time I didn’t know I had a broken back.”

There was no cell phone service and no way to communicate.

So while some campers ran for help miles away, others assisted in getting the girls free from the tree.

 “We were laying on the ground for a while before our trooper who was like our guide kicked in two outhouse doors to lay us on to stabilize us. And he had ropes and things like that,” said Dresden.

The U.S. Coast Guard brought a gurney with a wheel for each of the badly injured girls.

The campers rolled them in the dark to safety, all while being attacked by mosquitos.

 “They carried us for three hours and a half to an open meadow, and we were waiting for the helicopter and then we heard it which was a very great thing to hear,” said Dresden.

The girls told 7 Action News a Coast Guard rescue helicopter could not land in the meadow.

“Then a man from the coast guard came down from a rope to see how we were doing,” said Kaylie.

The dramatic rescue continued as the teens were lifted by ropes into the helicopter separate helicopters.

The best friends both wondering how each were doing.

Their parents had dropped everything, taking private planes to be with them from other parts of the state.

“When you think about what could have happened, they could have been paralyzed, they could have died. They could have had head injuries. Although their injuries are very serious, when you think of what could have happened, as a parent you are relieved,” said Sol Cogan, Dresden’s father.

Dresden suffered a broken back and Kaylie had broken some ribs and has some organ damage.

Though they are recovering from very serious injuries, their spirits were always high, even as they first arrived at the hospital.

 “We were in a room next to each other… and we had the curtain open.  We took really good selfies,” said the girls, finishing each other sentences.  “We did.  They were cute.”

Both going into their sophomore year, they have both come a long way but through this terrifying ordeal, the girls say this:

“Always appreciate everything you have because once this happened you realize how quick everything can be taken away from you,” said Kaylie.

The girls plan to write a book about their experience and eventually have it adapted into a film.

They also advise other campers to always have a satellite phone.