Father, son rescued after rough night on Appalachian Trail

ART: Ambulance Lights

GATLINBURG (WATE) – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers and the Tennessee Highway Patrol rescued the a father and son from the park’s backcountry near the Spence Field Shelter on Saturday evening.

The call came in at 6:10 a.m., according to officials.

The hikers were separated from a third member of their party while traveling about six miles from Derrick Knob Shelter to Spence Field Shelter on Friday night, according to the report.

After leaving Derrick Knob, officials say the weather worsened and the hikers were left walking over rocky terrain in thunderstorms and rain.

Park rangers say only one member made it back to Spence Field Shelter as planned.

On Saturday morning thru-hikers headed northbound from Spence Field were on the lookout for the for the father and son who did not make it back.

They came across one of the son who suffered a knee injury and could not walk unassisted. He was taken out on horseback by rangers from Cades Cove.

The father was found farther on the trail near Thunder Mountain.

After an assessment by park rangers, it was determined that air extrication would be the best option.

Tennessee Highway Patrol were able to assist. The hikers were flown to McGhee Tyson Airport, then transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center by Rural/Metro at 7:32 p.m. on Saturday.

The names and conditions of the two men have not been released.


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