BURKE COUNTY, N.C. Local Charlotte News – Search and Rescue teams faced a busy Saturday in Burke County after an injured patient had to be carried through the Linville Gorge and 20 hikers went missing off a trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway, officials said.
Officials said around 1 p.m., crews were called out for a report of a hiker with a lower leg injury along the river below Cambic Branch Trail. Teams entered the area through different trails to work down to the patient.
Crews carried the patient across the river and began the hike out of the Gorge. Officials said the patient was carried three miles through rugged terrain and rope systems were set up at the south end of the Linville Gorge Trail to help the patient around the rock faces where an ambulance was waiting.
County officials said the rescue crews and the patient made it out of the woods 13 hours after the call was originally received.
While crews were dispatched to help the injured hiker, Burke Rescue received another report of 20 missing hikers around 9:20 p.m.
Officials said a group of people with ages ranging from 8 to 52 years old went missing near the Linville Falls Visitor Center off the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Park Service Rangers were able to establish voice contact with the group but were still unable to access them.
Rescue crews determined that the missing hikers had taken a social trail of an overlook and were unable to make their way back to the main trail.
Search and Rescue teams from Avery County were called in to assist. Crews from the Linville Central Rescue Squad, Banner Elk, Jonas Ridge and Linville Fire Departments responded and were able to help the missing party back to the main trail.
Crews and the hikers made it back safely around 3:45 a.m.