Man survives 40-foot fall at park

By John Peters -

PILOT MOUNTAIN — A hiker has been hospitalized after falling 40 feet at Pilot Mountain State Park, according to a local official.

John Shelton, Surry County emergency services director, said the 21-year-old fell from the Jomeokee Trail, near the Pilot Mountain overlook, a few minutes after 3 p.m. Though he survived the fall, he did sustain injuries serious enough that rescuers had to carry him out.

“Once we extricated him off the trail, he was transported to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem,” Shelton said.

“He is stable, I’m sure he’ll do fine,” Shelton said shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday. He declined to identify the hiker, saying his family may not yet have been notified. He also cited federal health privacy laws preventing him from giving additional information about the man’s condition.

Shelton said the fall appeared to be a “freak accident,” because the trail was in good shape there, and the man — along with his two companions — were outfitted with backpacks and appeared to be experienced hikers. “He just slipped from one of the ledges down there and fell.”

He said the call came in at 3:11 p.m, and rescuers were outfitted with all necessary equipment and working their way toward him by 3:20 p.m., finishing the rescue around 4:30 p.m.

“That’s a pretty rough trail down in there,” he said of the area. Shelton said the workers secured the victim in a Stokes basket, then 15 of them took turns carrying him out.

In addition to the EMS, Shelton said Pilot Mountain Rescue, Pinnacle Fire and Rescue, and the Pilot Mountain State Park rangers all responded and took part in the rescue.

By John Peters

Reach John at 415-4701.

Reach John at 415-4701.