Voice Staff Report
Easter Sunday, a woman hiking Trail 9 at Cumberland Falls State Park suffered a life threatening injury which activated an urgent multi-department rescue. When the emergency call went out members of the Eagle Sawyer Fire Department quickly made their way to the victim, a 40 year old woman from Ohio. The woman’s foot had been crushed by a log with near amputation. She was located approximately 1 ½ miles in on the trail and was relatively close to the Cumberland River below the falls.
Members of the Eagle Sawyer Fire Department assessed the situation, relayed information that started the rescue operation and gave aid. Swift water rescue teams from the Whitley City and Pine Knot Fire Departments were deployed to a beach area below the falls. The teams then rowed across the swollen river to reach the victim.
The PHI medical helicopter had been called and had put down in the landing zone set up by Eagle Sawyer Fire Department at the old Tombstone Junction parking lot. First responders helped the two PHI flight nurses carry their equipment and walked the nurses to the injured woman’s location, where they began medical support.
The swift water rescue teams brought the injured woman and PHI nurses back across the river to the beach area. First responders carried the injured woman from the beach area below the falls to a waiting McCreary EMS ambulance which drove her a short distance to the PHI helicopter. PHI flew the woman to UT Medical Center for treatment.
First Responders from several different departments assisted in the rescue, including Eagle Sawyer, Whitley City, Pine Knot and North McCreary Fire Departments, McCreary County EMS, the McCreary County Sheriff’s Office and the Kentucky State Police.
First Responders, over the past few years, have answered several calls for rescue from injured hikers on Trail 9 at Cumberland Falls, some injured hikers were carried out and others were brought out by the swift water rescue teams. The McCreary County Fire Departments are all manned by volunteers, including the swift water rescue teams.