Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park creative commons

In the same Utah canyon made famous by the Oscar-nominated 2010 film 127 Hours, a North Carolina man survived for four days before crawling to safety after breaking his leg.

It's a bizarre case of life imitating art imitating life again. Amos Wayne Richards, 64, was a big fan of the hit movie, which quite graphically depicts the grueling ordeal of Aron Ralson, who was forced to sever his arm after a fall in Utah's Little Blue John Canyon left him pinned beneath a rock.

Richards had hiked for several days in Canyonlands National Park when he decided to drive to the Little Blue John Canyon on Sept. 8. The canyon, featured in 127 Hours, became the setting for Richard's grueling ordeal.

The hike began well, he told ABC affiliate WSOC. He started down a 70-foot-deep ravine and got within 10 feet of the bottom when he slipped and fell.

I dislocated my shoulder and bumped my head on the rock, Richards told WSOC.

But, Richards' troubles were only just beginning. He popped his shoulder back in place and began climbing out the same way he came. Soon, his ankle began hurting.

I went to take a step and realized that I couldn't put an ounce of weight on my foot and so I sat there for about 30 minutes thinking maybe I wasn't going to be found...But then I went ahead and cut up my camera bag and a water bag...and strapped them around my knees for pads and started crawling, Richards told the station.

With just two bottles of water, two bottles of Gatorade, and two protein bars, he began what would be four days of crawling. Richards followed his GPS and crawled atop his foot prints to retrace his journey.

I snacked on the bars and drank the water. By the end of the second day, I'd finished the water up, but that night thunderstorms came up and it rained real hard and I could hear water rushing in the ditch nearby. So the next morning, I went in the ditch and found a puddle of water and filled my bottles back up, Richards told WSOC.

Richards used his shirt to strain the water and rid it of bugs, sticks, and grit.

On Friday, Sept. 9, rangers noticed that Richards' campsite appeared abandoned.

It obviously hadn't been stayed in for a day or two, so our rangers began to investigate, Canyonlands National Park spokesman Paul Henderson said in a statement.

Once we figured out where we thought he was and got a helicopter up in the air, it was a relatively quick process to spot him and to pick him up and transport him to the hospital, Henderson added.

When Richards was rescued by park rangers, he'd just finished his last two swallows of water.

It was so miserable at night, so cold...I couldn't stand the thoughts of another night down there...When I saw it [the rescuers], that was the most wonderful thing I'd ever seen in my life, Richards told WSOC.

Henderson said that Canyonlands has seen an influx of hikers at Little Blue John Canyon since the release of 127 Hours, though Richards' ordeal most closely resembles that of Ralston's.

Richards was treated for a shattered leg and dehydration at a hospital in Moab, Utah, before returning to North Carolina to recover.