PILOT MOUNTAIN — A 17-year-old female has been transported to Wake Forest Medical Center with serious injuries after falling 40 feet while rock climbing on Pilot Mountain.
Nearly two dozen rescue climbers and emergency services personnel converged on the scene of the fall off of Three Bears Trail shortly after 11 a.m. Monday, and walked the victim to Little Pinnacle lookout, where she was brought to waiting rescue vehicles.
Shortly after bringing the victim to the emergency services vehicle, a visibly winded John Shelton, emergency services director of Surry County, said the victim was extremely lucky.
“This was a 17-year-old victim who fell about 40 feet from a rock ledge and landed on another ledge,” he said.
The victim, whose identity and injuries are not being released due to her age, was described as “conscious and alert,” after briefly losing consciousness, Shelton said.
According to rescue personnel, the victim was with a group of young people when the accident occurred.
“Luckily, there was an Emergency Medical Technician and physician’s assistant who were hiking with another group and stumbled upon the victim,” Shelton said. “They were instrumental in helping stabilize her.”
Shelton said the victim “couldn’t have fell in a worse place.”
“It was straight up, so we carried her about a half mile to where we could get her out more easily,” he said. “To avoid a really dangerous ravine, we carried her around the mountain to Little Pinnacle to get her out.”
It took rescuers more than an hour to negotiate the treacherous landscape and transport the victim to Little Pinnacle.
Regardless, Shelton said the situation could have been much worse.
“She was really fortunate,” he said. “From the location and the kind of fall she had, she could have sustained much more serious injuries.”
The victim fell off a ledge, slid down the mountain and landed on another rocky outcrop, Shelton said.
Shelton said rescuers on the scene included Pilot Mountain Rescue, the North Carolina Park Service and the Pilot Mountain Mountain Rescue Team.
“These guys did just a tremendous job,” he said, looking at the rescuers. “I’d put them up against any mountain rescue group anywhere.”
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.