UPDATE: Injured hiker airlifted from Appalachian Trail, brought to hospital after Sunday rescue operation

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UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: Virginia Division 3 Technical Rescue has released additional information on the rescue of an injured hiker Sunday afternoon on the Appalachian Trail in Rockbridge County.

Multiple agencies responded to the incident including teams from Rockbridge, Bedford and Amherst Counties.

UTVs and ATVs were used to transport gear and personnel through steep, icy terrain.

A decision was made to use Med-Flight 1 out of Chesterfield which was said to be the easiest and most-timely way to rescue the hiker and transport them to an ambulance.

Full details can be found below, via the Virginia Division 3 Technical Rescue Team’s Facebook page.


UPDATE 7:52 a.m.: Bedford County Special Operations Command provided additional details, photos, and videos from Sunday’s rescue operation in Rockbridge County.

Despite the icy conditions and steep inclines, Bedford County SOC says crews had to travel approximately 4.5 miles to access the hiker.

At the peak of the rescue operation, officials say 40 rescue personnel were committed to the mountain. Meanwhile, Bedford County SOC was assigned to handle patient care and help with the hoist operations.

All units were reportedly off the mountain by 11 p.m. on Sunday and back in their quarters by 1 a.m. on Monday.

ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — First responders from numerous agencies in central Virginia were dispatched to the edge of Rockbridge County Sunday to rescue another hiker who slipped and fell down the mountain along the Appalachian Trail.

According to Big Island Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. crews from Big Island and Bedford County Special Operations Command were dispatched to the border of Amherst and Rockbridge counties around 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 21 to help other first responders track down an injured hiker along the Appalachian Trail.

The fire company announced earlier in the day that the incident took place just inside Rockbridge County and involved a lost hiker.

Because of the complications caused by the icy trails, steep terrain, cold temperatures, the darkness, and the airlift from the Virginia State Police helicopter, Big Island fire officials say additional help was called in from the Big Island Emergency Crew, Boonsboro Fire Department, Forest Fire Department, Bedford Fire Department, Lynchburg Fire Department, Bedford County Medic, Pedlar Fire, Amherst Fire, Monelison Fire, Amherst County Fire Chief, and a paid medic unit from Amherst.

First responders used ATV’s and UTV’s to get personnel and equipment halfway up the mountain to access the Appalachian Trail, where first responders then used axes and picks to chop the ice from the trail.

The Big Island Emergency Crew, Inc. says the hiker was found and the extent of their injuries determined before a helicopter transported the patient out of the trail and met with an ambulance, which then brought the hiker to the hospital.

Crews told WFXR News at the scene that the hiker was alert, but he was suffering from hypothermia and other cuts and injuries. There is no word on the extent of the hiker’s injuries at this time.

In order to help the first responders warm up and recover, Big Island emergency officials say the Lynchburg Fire Department’s Command and Rehab bus came to the scene and personnel were able to have pizza, coffee, and hot chocolate.

“Once the victim was moved to the ambulance, crews began exiting the trail. Once everyone got back to the staging area, everyone loaded up and cleared the incident,” Big Island Emergency Crew posted on Facebook just before 1:30 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 22. “We are thankful for yet another good turnout for a search and rescue call.”

According to officials, this is the second helicopter lift from the Appalachian Trail in two days due to a hiker slipping on ice and falling down the mountain.

Big Island Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. asks people to stay off the trails until all the ice melts.

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