Rescue team shares story of how hiker was saved

9:49 PM, Oct 1, 2012   |    comments
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DAWSONVILLE, Ga.  "I believe it's about a 600 foot cascade. The initial drop is not that high."

The terrain inside parts of Amicalola Falls State park are beautiful, remote, rugged. But it did not stop the crew from Dawson County Emergency Services when they heard a 22 year old had fallen twenty-five feet at Cochran Falls, in a remote area of the park park.

Inside the station in Dawsonville, members of the rescue team show the 50 pound stokes basket they lugged over two and a half miles of rugged terrain, the basket, only a portion of the gear that the dozen men hauled with them. 

Firefighter paramedic Andrew Wilson, an experienced hiker, says it was a difficult trek in.

"There was stuff near vertical, weaving in through laurel thickets, and it's not bad if you have a backpack and a water bottle, but carrying a stokes basket and the rest of your equipment, it can get kind of challenging."

Ninety minutes after they got the call, the crew reached the young man, who had been rock climbing with three friends.

Wilson says, "He was setting his first anchor when his foot slipped. And that's when he took a tumble."

The team says the man was stoic and complained very little. His biggest worry is that his mom would find out what happened to him by watching tv.

Lieutenant Todd Hollaway says, "He was worried about that. Because he had not contacted his mother yet."

The Department of Natural Resources came thru with a chopper.

The 22 year old is recovering at Grady hospital, and today Chief Lanier Swafford talked to the man's father.

"The surgery was very successful and they are anticipating a full recovery for this young man and that's super news for us."

It was four and a half hours from the time the call came in until the man was lifted to safety.

For this humble crew that routinely saves lives, the day was far from over, they still had to hike out.

Lieutenant Hollaway says, "It was a little slower going out for sure, for sure."

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