Hank Williams Jr. Says He Remembers “Every Bit” Of 530-Foot Fall From Mountain

Hank Williams Jr. Says He Remembers “Every Bit” Of 530-Foot Fall From Mountain | Classic Country Music | Legendary Stories and Songs Videos

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Hank Williams Jr. visited The Bobby Bones Show where he talked about the 530-foot fall from a Montana mountain that nearly took his life in 1975.

Hank Williams Jr. was mountain climbing with a friend in southwestern Montana when he slipped and fell more than 500 feet, striking jutting rocks on his way down. According to Dick Willey, the Montana rancher who was climbing Ajax Mountain with Williams, the pair was crossing a snow field when the singer fell.

“About the only thing he had left was the one eye,” Willey said of Williams’ injuries during an interview with 20/20 in 1987. “It literally tore his nose off…drove it up through his head, and blew a hole in his forehead…” Willey added that Williams’ jaw, teeth and gums were “pretty much ruined.”

A newspaper article that ran on the front page of The Tennessean a few days after the accident reported that it took first responders six hours to rescue Williams and fly him via helicopter to Missoula Community Hospital. After arriving at the hospital, the singer underwent 7 hours of surgery to repair the damage the fall had done.


When Hank Jr. woke up, he saw two visitors watching over him: His godmother, June Carter Cash, and her husband, Johnny Cash.

“When I fell, there were only two people I saw when I woke up in the hospital bed, and that was Johnny and June,” Williams told Rolling Stone. “June put a cross on me and told me it was all going to be OK. I never knew if I would sing again or not, talk again or not, let alone think about what I was going to look like. It was a scary time.”

Hank’s mother, Audrey, flew in from Nashville. After seeing her son, she told the press that it was a miracle he was alive. “But he’s young and he’s tough. It was just God’s will for him to live.” Audrey would die three months later and wouldn’t live to see her son fully recover. It took Hank Jr. roughly two years and 17 surgeries to get somewhat back to normal.

“I’ve had dreams about it,” Williams said in 1989. “I should have died. The doctor said he had worked on plenty of boys in Vietnam and, to be frank, they looked good compared to me.”

Though decades have passed since the horrifying incident, Hank Jr. told Bobby Bones earlier this month that he remembers everything about that tragic day and the 17 surgeries that followed.

When asked by Bobby Bones what he remembers about that fall, Williams replied, “All of it…I remember every bit of it,” and added that they credit his survival with the fact that he didn’t black out.

“They strapped me to the outside of a helicopter…that ride was pretty rough,” Williams recalled. “Then you get down there and they cut everything off. I told them, ‘Don’t cut my cross [necklace] off.’ They cut everything off. I had a gun in a shoulder holster when I fell. They cut the holster off….Operated all night. I woke up a day and a half later, something like that.”

Bobby Bones then asked when Williams he could sing again. “It was a long time after that…it was starting all over.”

Hear Hank Williams Jr. talk to Bobby Bones about his fall from a mountain in the clip below.

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