CHARLOTTE, NC (Joe Marusak/The Charlotte Observer) - A 70-year-old hiker who hurt his hip deep in the woods near a waterfall in the N.C. mountains was rescued by a Black Hawk helicopter crew that included members of the Charlotte Fire Department.
Night was falling when the man was hurt near Hunt Fish Falls in Avery County on Wednesday evening, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety.
Facing an extended hike in the dark carrying the injured man, local rescue crews requested help from the North Carolina Helo-Aquatic Rescue Team, known as NC HART.
The team hoisted the hiker into the helicopter, along with a local paramedic who was already treating the man. They flew both to a nearby landing area and transferred them to a waiting ambulance that took them to a local hospital.
The successful rescue caught the attention of Gov. Roy Cooper.
"NC HART represents the best of North Carolina, with our state's first responders and military joining forces to save lives," Cooper said. The rescue "required training and courage, and I appreciate the dedication and service of our NC HART members and local rescuers."
Established in 2004, NC HART have saved hundreds of lives, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety. Two NC HART crews were deployed to Texas last month to help search for and rescue victims of Hurricane Harvey's widespread floods.