On July 18, Jeff Bua, a fun-loving 21-year-old, took a leap that forever changed his life.


Just minutes earlier, another young man celebrated after safely jumping off a 60-foot cliff at Deep Creek Hot Springs, about eight miles southeast of Hesperia Lake Park. But Bua's leap, with numerous people swimming, picnicking and partying below, went very badly.


According to his grandmother, Cheryl Rollins of Hesperia, Bua hit a submerged boulder feet-first. The impact was so powerful that some people said they could hear bones break.


Bua certainly did break bones many. He would later learn that he broke his right femur in 17 places and sustained fractures of the tailbone, pelvis, left tibia and fibula. He also cracked his L1 and shattered his right heel.


"He hit so hard he bounced upside down in the deep water," Rollins said.


Luckily, a forest ranger was on the scene and called for help on his hand-held radio. The next "angels," according to Rollins, were an EMT and an unidentified woman who helped Bua's sister fetch him out of water.


"When they rolled Jeff over they knew he was gone until he let out a horrifying sounds minutes later," she said.


A sheriff's recue helicopter transported Bua to Arrowhead Regional Trauma Center where numerous medical professionals worked to stop extensive internal bleeding. He underwent four major surgeries and received 23 units of blood. He was in a coma for 12 days.


But Bua, who doesn't have health insurance, faces additional medical procedures. So family and friends are organizing various fund-raising events including a car wash from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Los Domingos Restaurant, 15885 Main St., Hesperia.


Bua grew up in Hesperia and Victorville, attending Maple Elementary in Hesperia before his family moved to Spring Valley Lake. He attended Lomitas Elementary and Hesperia Junior before the family moved to Yucaipa, where he currently lives.


A finish carpenter by trade, Bua faces an uncertain amount of time recovering before he can resume normal activity. But he's up to the task, as his lengthy time in the hospital proved.


"His determination and will to live are unbelievable," Rollins said.


ABOUT DEEP CREEK


Deep Creek is a thermal hot springs popular among hikers who visit to soak in the scenery or take a dip in the warm water.


To get there, visitors must choose one of two entry points. From Hesperia, hikers commonly wak about six miles along the Pacific Crest Trail from Arrowhead Lake Road. From Apple Valley, visitors go through a private portion of Bowen Ranch Road (a fee is charged) and descend 2-1/2 miles to the springs.


Deep Creek is open from sunrise to sunset. Public nudity is permitted in certain areas.


Swimmers are warned not to drink water or submerge their heads as the water may contain a potentially fatal disease called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.


For more information, log onto http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/recreation/deepcreek/