National Guard Airlifts Hiker From Appalachian Trail After Experiencing Chest Pains

by Taylor Cunningham

The Tennessee National Guard was deployed to airlift a hiker from the Appalachian Trail after he began experiencing life-threatening chest pains.

Around 12:30 pm on Tuesday, Sept 20. a report that a 56-year-old hiker had stopped at the Derrick Knob Shelter with cardiac distress reached the Tennessee Military Department and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. Because of the medical emergency, officials instructed the guard to find the hiker and take him to the nearest hospital.

By 1 pm, a crew with the 1-230th Assault Helicopter Battalion left Louisville, TN, on a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. And it headed toward the Appalacian Trail shelter, which is located in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park just outside of Gatlinburg.

When the guardsman located the victim, the crew lowed two flight paramedics by hoist to assess the person’s health. Then they lifted the hiker aboard and continued care as they transported them to UT Medical Center in Knoxville.

When the helicopter reached the hospital, doctors were waiting to rush the hiker to the emergency room. The entire rescue mission took less than one hour, including a 20-minute flight to the medical center.

According to ABC News 6, The National Guard crew included Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Backus, the pilot in command, 1st Lt. Brandon Rodriguez, Sgt. Christopher Farrar, and flight paramedics Sgt. 1st Class Giovanni DeZuani and Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Banta.

The National Guard Helping Jackson, Mississippi Amid Water Crisis

Before the rescue along the Appalachian Trail, the National Guard was making headlines for helping residents of Jackson, Mississippi amid the water crisis.

On July 29, the city went under a boil water notice after massive floods caused a water treatment pipe to burst. By September 1, residents still didn’t have clean drinking water. So the National Guard headed out with hundreds of members to pass out over 100,000 bottles of water.

NowThis shared a clip of the efforts on its Twitter page.

“Mississippi’s National Guard is helping distribute water to the residents of Jackson. Almost 600 members have handed out water to more than 120,000 vehicles at four sites around the city since September 1,” it wrote.

The Guard stationed in Jackson for over two weeks as people patiently waited for the city to restore the water. Luckily, Gov. Tate Reeves announced on Sept. 15 that the problem had been resolved at the utility was restored after seven long weeks.

However, Jim Craig, an official from the state health department shared that people should continue using bottled water when making baby formula because of higher than usual copper and lead levels.