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Two Hikers Rescued by Helicopter at Grandfather Mountain State Park; Incidents Occurred 11 Days Apart

By Nathan Ham

Two separate rescues took place at Grandfather Mountain State Park to bring injured hikers to safety.

The first incident happened on May 26 near MacRae Peak. The most recent incident happened on Wednesday, June 5 after a hiker broke his ankle and had to be rescued by members of the North Carolina Helo-Aquatic Rescue Team (NC HART).

The injury was reported late Wednesday morning, allowing for area rescuers to reach him on foot to provide on-site treatment. However, with the steep terrain and being roughly 1.5 miles from the nearest parking area, the decision was made to request a helicopter rescue.

According to Frank Ruggiero, the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the hiker was injured near Attic Window inside Grandfather Mountain State Park.

“The Blackhawk helicopter retrieved the hiker and landed in Grandfather Mountain’s MacRae Meadows, where the patient was transferred to Avery County EMS,” Ruggiero said. “Grandfather Mountain extends its thanks to NC HART, N.C. Emergency Management, Watauga County Emergency Management, N.C. State Parks, Linville-Central Rescue Squad, Linville Fire & Rescue and the Grandfather Mountain emergency response team.”

The UH-60 Blackhawk was crewed by members of the North Carolina National Guard in Salisbury and three rescue technicians from the Charlotte Fire Department.

“NC HART represents the best of North Carolina, partnering our state’s first responders and aviators to save lives,” NC Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. “Today’s rescue required extensive training and skill and I appreciate the dedication and service of our NC HART members and local rescuers.

Photos Courtesy of Jesse Pope, Executive Director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.