Prescott man who spent 30 hours at bottom of hill before rescue talks to 3TV

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PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. - An 84-year old Prescott man is recovering from a broken back after he crashed his jeep then spent 30 hours waiting to be rescued.

Making the story all the more remarkable is who came to his rescue from high in the sky.

3TV got an exclusive interview with John Basham at John C. Lincoln Hospital with his survival story.

At 84 years old Basham stays in shape, eats healthy and loves to hunt. Last Wednesday he got up at 4 a.m. to go dove hunting.

Everything was great until that early start caught up with him during the drive home. 

Dehydrated and with a broken back John Basham now recovers in a hospital bed after dozing off at the wheel.

He tells 3TV, “Next thing I know, I was bouncing like I was holding onto a bronco or something.”

Basham ended up alone in his jeep at the bottom of a hill slumped over with a broken back. He was missing for 30 hours.

He tells 3TV he “Couldn't move, I mean, I couldn't move my back, I could move sideways, but I couldn't sit straight up.”

He says his cell phone was out of reach and he had very little water. “I've heard about people going down inclines and getting lost in the bushes and not being found, is this happening to me?”

Basham is from Prescott and was coming back from dove hunting in Aguila, Arizona when he crashed his jeep near Yarnell close to Highway 89 and nobody knew about it.

Lavelle Basham, John's wife of 49 years, says, “It's something I don't want to experience again.”

Lavelle says that in the 49 years they have been together, he has never not come home.

Several search and rescue crews from different counties looked for Basham but it was actually his nephew searching in a plane who spotted him.

Basham tells 3TV, “He said ‘we found you’, I gave him the one up you know, I was happy he found me.”

Lavelle adds, “That’s just so priceless, just so priceless. It's like giving your life back, you know giving your life back because someone cared enough about you.”

A long-time hunter Basham says he is upset he will have to miss this year's quail season but says he is not hanging those guns up just quite yet. “I hope to go again sometime, don't know when, but if I get the feeling back in my toe I will be able to walk and maybe I'll hunt again.”

Basham’s doctor told him he will be at the hospital for probably a couple of more weeks then it is off to a rehabilitation center near his home in Prescott.

Basham will actually learn how to walk again. He says once he has conquered that, he cannot wait to go hunting again.