Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hiker Rescued by TN National Guard Aircrew

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by Patrick Gorski/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A medical flight crew from the Tennessee Army National Guard responded to an emergency air evacuation mission. A hiker in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park area on October 14 was suspected to have broken their leg.

Around 4:20 p.m., the Tennessee Military Department and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency were notified of a hiker needing evacuation. The hiker was located along the Alum Cave Trail, south of Gatlinburg, and required immediate medical attention.

A helicopter from the Tennessee National Guard’s Detachment 1, Company C, 1-171st Aviation Regiment, based in Knoxville, assembled in less than 40 minutes. They launched to the incident site at around 5:00 p.m.

The flight crew consisted of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Trailson Moore, Pilot in Command; 1st Lt. Gavin Huffman, Pilot; Staff Sgt. Donald Sweet, Crew Chief; Col. Robert Ross, Flight Surgeon; Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Banta, Flight Paramedic; and Staff Sgt. Jared Ennis, Flight Paramedic.

At 5:22 p.m., the aircraft arrived at the hiker’s location on Alum Cave Trail. Then, Banta and Ennis were lowered to the ground by hoist.

They then performed a medical assessment on the injured hiker. Once complete, the hiker was medically stabilized, and preparations were made to hoist them into the helicopter. The hiker was then raised up, followed by Banta and Ennis.  

Once onboard, the flight crew continued medical aid while flying to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. The hiker was safely delivered to the hospital after a 12-minute flight.

New Hampshire Hiker Rescued After Slipping on Wet Rocks and Moss

On October 15, 2022, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department was called about an injured hiker around 11:00 a.m. The hiker, located on the South Ridge Trail on Mt. Cardigan in Orange, had fallen. The hiker and his family hiked up the West Ridge Trail and summited Mt. Cardigan earlier that day.

On their descent via the South Ridge Trail, the man slipped on wet rocks and moss. He then fell and injured his lower leg. The hiker, named Aaron Klohn, 26, of Cincinnati, OH, couldn’t make it down the trail without assistance. Then, his family contacted 911.

Along with Conservation Officers, members of the Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team responded. Also, personnel from Canaan, Enfield, Lebanon, Grafton, Rumney, Orford and Hartford Fire Departments assisted with the evacuation. Klohn was helped down a steep section of trail by responders. Then, he was carried the rest of the way. Klohn arrived at the trailhead at 1:41 p.m.

Around this time of year, hikers must take extra precautions because of weather conditions. It takes longer for trails to dry out when they get wet. Furthermore, obstacles can be hidden by the fallen leaves.

New Hampshire Fish and Game reminds hikers to prepare themselves before venturing out into the wilderness. They remind people to pack the ten essential items; map, compass, warm clothing, extra food and water, headlamp, fire starter, first aid kit, whistle, rain/wind jackets and pants, and a knife.