(CBS) – It happened in an instant. A man falls more than 25 feet, knocked unconscious and left to die.

Nearly a day later, a police officer in southwest suburban Lemont finds him, deep in a ditch, along some railroad tracks.

READ MORE: Jussie Smollett Takes The Witness Stand, Describes Alleged Attack As Real And Like 'Something Out Of Looney Tunes Adventures'

CBS 2’s Chris Martinez reports.

With an unbroken gaze, Officer Brian Schmitz saw a first sign of trouble.

Following that path – saying he feared the worst – Schmitz found what he was looking for.

“He was laying on his back he was just motionless,” he says.

READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Coldest Temperatures In Nearly 10 Months Early Tuesday

Police first got the call of a missing man on Tuesday night. He’d gone looking for the phone he lost while taking a walk.

By the time Schmitz saw him, more than 10 hours had passed.

Firefighters used ropes to go down 25 to 30 feet and retrieve the victim, who was transported by helicopter.

The victim is recovering.

MORE NEWS: View Live Radar