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NEWS | Aug. 17, 2023

Tennessee National Guard Rescues Hiker in National Park

By Tennessee Department of Military

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A Tennessee Army National Guard medical flight crew performed an emergency air evacuation of a hiker suffering a severe illness in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Aug. 15.

Shortly after 1:50 p.m., the Tennessee National Guard and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency were notified that a sick hiker needed medical assistance and evacuation to a hospital. The hiker was in a remote area of the park about 1.5 miles west of Clingmans Dome.

Fifty minutes after being notified, TEMA approved the mission. Tennessee National Guardsmen assigned to the 1-230th Assault Helicopter Battalion in Knoxville assembled a flight crew, prepared a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and launched to rescue the hiker.

The Tennessee Army National Guard flight crew included of two pilots, Chief Warrant Officer 3s Luke Hargrove and Daniel Backus; Staff Sgt. Ryan McKnight, crew chief; and two flight paramedics, Sgt. 1st Class Nolan Ogle and Tracy Banta.

The aircrew departed McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base and arrived at the rescue site 12 minutes later. The crew quickly located the hiker and the park rangers who were rendering first aid.

McKnight lowered flight paramedics Ogle and Banta to the ground by hoist to do a quick medical assessment and prepare the hiker for transport. The hiker was connected to a rescue strop and hoisted into the hovering helicopter, followed by Banta and Ogle. The paramedics continued aiding the patient while the aircraft flew to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, landing at about 3:30 p.m.

Medical personnel received the hiker and rushed the patient into the emergency room. The entire rescue mission took less than an hour.

 

 

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