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Tennessee National Guard rescues hiker in Smoky Mountains

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On the night of May 20, a Tennessee National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk medical flight crew rescued a hiker suffering from a serious illness in a remote area of ​​the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Shortly before 7:00 pm Eastern Time, the Tennessee National Guard and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency were notified of a hiker requiring immediate medical assistance. The hiker was located more than 5,000 feet above sea level, at Icewater Spring.

TEMA approved the mission shortly after 7:15 p.m., and less than an hour later, a Tennessee National Guard Task Force Smokey flight crew took off from McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base to rescue to the hiker.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Peter Neveu and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Andrés Salas were the pilots of the mission. Sergeant First Class Cassandra Previously was the paramedic and Sgt. Daniel Bandy, along with Sgt. Ernest Harlan, they were the crew chiefs.

The UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter arrived on the scene about 20 minutes later and quickly performed a crane rescue to carefully lift the hiker onto the plane.

The crew transported the hiker to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville shortly after 9:00 p.m. The entire operation, from the first notification of a possible mission to the delivery of the patient to the hospital, lasted approximately two hours.

Sergeant.  Cassandra Before First Class, a paramedic assigned to Task Force Smokey, prepares to be hoisted to rescue a hiker in need of medical assistance, May 20, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  (courtesy photo)

Sergeant. Cassandra Before First Class, a paramedic assigned to Task Force Smokey, prepares to be hoisted to rescue a hiker in need of medical assistance, May 20, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (courtesy photo)