Tennessee National Guard Rescues Ill Hiker in Smoky Mountains

A UH-60 Blackhawk crew from the Tennessee National Guard rescued an ill hiker in the Smoky Mountains.

On the evening of May 20, a UH-60 Blackhawk medical flight crew from the Tennessee National Guard successfully rescued a hiker suffering from a severe illness in a remote part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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

TEMA approved the mission just after 7:15 p.m. Less than an hour later, a flight crew from the Tennessee National Guard’s Task Force Smokey took off from McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base to execute the rescue operation.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Peter Neveu and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Andres Salas piloted the mission. Sgt 1st Class Cassandra Antes served as the paramedic, while Staff Sgt. Daniel Bandy and Staff Sgt. Ernest Harlan were the crew chiefs.

The UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter arrived at the scene approximately 20 minutes after takeoff and quickly performed a hoist rescue to safely lift the hiker into the aircraft. The crew then transported the hiker to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, arriving shortly after 9:00 p.m. The entire operation, from the initial notification to the patient handoff at the hospital, took about two hours.

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