BOSTON (CBS) – The man who saw his father fall to his death on Mount Washington tells a story both heartbreaking and terrifying.
The two men were part of a group that had set out to hike up Mount Washington but actually turned back because the weather wasn’t good.
Trips like this were not unusual for this father and son. They were very close.
Seth Priebatsch, 23, says his 67-year-old father Norman taught him everything about life, but the times they enjoyed the most were in the great outdoors.
They hiked everywhere together. They enjoyed the challenge and the adventure, and although safety was always Norman’s number one concern, his son says there are certain things you just can’t control.
“People do get into serious hiking accidents. Tuckerman’s is one of the dangerous parts of the world,” said Priebatsch. So why go? “Because its beautiful.”
That’s why Priebatsch and his father hiked Tuckerman’s Ravine every year. It was a tradition for them.
But on Sunday, April 1, what was supposed to be another challenging father-son outing turned deadly.
Both Priebatsch and his dad, along with some friends, were hiking to the top of Mt. Washington, but because they were behind schedule, they decided to turn back.
Priebatsch says he was about 40 feet in front of his dad when somehow, Norman loss his footing.
“My dad, an aggressive guy, but he’s really solid about safety so he had proper crampons on,” said Priebatsch. “He slipped hit his head and we believe this knocked him unconscious.”
Priebatsch’s father slid down the mountain about 20 feet past his son and then over a lip. Priebatsch immediately began sliding after his father.
“I went over the lip as well, but maybe eight feet to left of him,” says Seth.
Priebatsch’s father fell more than 70 feet into the crevasse.
“I spent the 45 seconds just freaking and screaming into a hole,” said Priebatsch. “We threw down flashlights and jackets and anything we had.”
Rescuers have still not been able to recover Priebatsch’s dad’s body. Priebatsch said that not only did he lose his dad, but a mentor and his best friend who taught him so much about life.
Priebatsch says his dad had a long, prestigious career as an entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist. He’s originally from South Africa and worked closely with Nelson Mandela
He later immigrated to America and loved spending time with his family.
Priebatsch said he does plan to hike again, but not anytime soon.
His father had hiked that mountain at least 30 times. He also leaves behind a wife and daughter.