NC Army National Guard Black Hawk rescue climber
US Army, March 11, 2014 - SALISBURY, N.C. by Lt. Col. Matthew Devivo at North Carolina National Guard – A distress call went out Monday afternoon concerning a climber who fell while rappelling and landed on a cliff hundreds of feet above the ground on Shortoff Mountain, in Linville Gorge wilderness area, in western North Carolina.
North Carolina Army National Guard aviation assets based here, in conjunction with members Gaston County EMS’s N.C. Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART), were tasked to rescue the climbers.
The entire rescue was streamed live from a safe distance by a local news helicopter and can be seen at wsoctv.com,“Rescuers describe harrowing ordeal at Linville Gorge.”
Shortoff Mountain is near the Linville Gorge and has a vertical face that is popular among rock climbers.
The rescue required the Black Hawk to hover approximately 150 feet above the rock ledge and less than 15 feet from the rock face.
Captain Darrell Scoggins, commander for the rescue mission was flying the Black Hawk during Monday's rescue. He was interviewed at the NCNG flight facility once the mission was complete.
"You're proud this guy is going to be reunited with his family," Scoggins told a local TV station. "We pulled him out of a sticky situation and we're just happy we could be there to help."
Captain Chris Hendricks, with Gaston County EMS, was the NCHART technician who went down to retrieve the injured climber and bring him man back into the helicopter.
"He was pretty concentrated on the pain," Hendricks said of the climber who was able to talk to rescuers. "You could see the look in his face - he was hurting pretty good."
Gaston County EMS reported that the injured climber was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center-Main in Charlotte.
“The lasting partnership and year-round training that the NCNG, N.C. emergency Management and local emergency specialists with NCHART conduct are the reasons these missions are successful," said Scoggins.
This mission is the second successful collaboration between the NCNG and NCHART since January. N.C. Emergency Management - NCHART also executes missions involving swift water/flood rescue, lost persons and urban/wilderness high angle rescues.
NCHART is a highly specialized team consisting of North Carolina Army National Guard, North Carolina Emergency Management personnel and local firefighters that perform helicopter-based rescues.
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