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NEWS | March 17, 2022

Tennessee Guard rescues ill hiker on Appalachian Trail

By Tennessee National Guard

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A medical flight crew from the Tennessee National Guard conducted an emergency air evacuation of a hiker who suffered a severe illness on the Appalachian Trail March 15.

Shortly after 7:00 a.m., the Tennessee Military Department and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency were notified that a hiker near Double Spring Gap Shelter in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was weak and unable to stand or walk. Once alerted, the Tennessee National Guard began preparing for an emergency rescue mission.

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from Detachment 1, Company C, 1-171st Aviation Regiment, based in Knoxville, took off less than 30 minutes later.

The flight crew consisted of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Backus, pilot in command; Capt. Philip Webster, pilot; Sgt. Chris Farrar, crew chief; and flight paramedics Sgt. 1st Class Cassandra Antes and Sgt. 1st Class Giovanni DeZuani.

Just before 9:00 a.m., the flight crew located the patient. Farrar lowered DeZuani on the helicopter rescue hoist to the patient for a medical assessment. Farrar hoisted the patient and paramedic into the aircraft. DeZuani and Antes rendered aid to the patient as the helicopter flew to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

The aircraft landed at UT Medical Center at 9:22 a.m. 



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