A rainy, cold New Years eve was the backdrop for a multi-agency rescue of a hiker who fell from a cliff on the side of a hiking trail onto a rocky creek bed and two days later the same agencies joined together to carry a wounded hiker who fell at Ozone Falls.
Because of weather conditions on Thursday night, the victim in that fall was rushed to Cumberland Medical Center by ambulance and later transported to a regional trauma center.
The second hiker — who suffered a serious leg injury — was flown to The University of Tennessee Medical Center. Neither men’s conditions are known at press time.
The New Years eve incident occurred before 10 p.m. when a trio entered the Cumberland Mountain State Park overnight hiking trail from S. Old Mail Rd., Crossville Fire Chief Chris South said.
The hikers — in windy, rainy conditions at night — hiked about a mile east into the park boundaries when a man fell off a bluff at the edge of the trail and fell about 20-30 feet, South said. The man suffered multiple injuries including a head injury.
His two companions attempted to help him but the victim was unable to walk.
“Apparently, his injuries were a lot more serious than what they first thought,” South said.
A woman in the group back-tracked to S. Old Mail Rd. to get cell phone reception and contacted E-911. Resonders got the call at 10:20 p.m. In addition to the Cumberland Mountain State Park ranger, sheriff’s deputies, Crossville Police and Cumberland County Emergency Medical Services, the fire departments of Crossville and Cumberland County along with the Cumberland County Rescue Squad responded to the S. Old Mail Rd. location.
Because the woman was not familiar with the trail area, responders from the agencies conducted a search of the trail and located the injured man at the bottom of the bluff.
Medical personnel prepared the victim for transport while responders prepared a high-angle lift rescue from the bottom of the bluff to the hiking trail. Once that task was completed, the victim was carried up the trail to a waiting ambulance and rushed to CMC.
“The responders from all the agencies did a fabulous job,” South said. “On New Years eve when people had plans and things, we had about 30 responders turn out and they made a quick rescue.”
In the incident Jan. 2, a man hiking at the bottom of Ozone Falls slipped on a muddy trail and fell about ten feet, hitting some rocks. The victim reported that he believed he severely broke his ankle.
Hwy. 70 E. was closed for a period of time with emergency agencies responding to that scene and the victim was hand carried up the trail and rushed to the Crab Orchard ball field where he was flown from to the Knoxville trauma center for advanced treatment.
No additional information was available as to the identity of the men who were rescued.