First responders were called on to hike into the Panther Creek Trail area in northern Habersham Sunday to rescue a man injured in a fall.
The man fell approximately 30 feet from the trail onto a sandbar and was complaining of side and chest injuries. He was having difficulty breathing, says Habersham County Emergency Services Director Chad Black.
Around 4:18 p.m. on June 28, Habersham County 911 dispatched crews to assist the injured hiker. A little more than an hour later, they reached him after hiking some two miles into the trail. Once they secured the patient, they hiked him back out on a stretcher and loaded him onto an ATV to carry him the rest of the way to a waiting ambulance.
Habersham EMS transported the patient to the trauma center at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville. His condition is not known.
Habersham County Emergency Services, the Habersham County Search and Rescue Team (HabSar), and Lee Arrendale firefighters assisted in the rescue.
“Due to the patient’s size and location of the fall, this was another extremely difficult response for crews,” says Black.
It’s at least the third time since March that crews have been called to rescue people who fell from the trail at Panther Creek. The two most recent rescues, including Sunday’s, extended past six hours from the time rescuers were dispatched to the time they delivered the patients to the hospital.
“The calls to Panther Creek and Tallulah Gorge, especially during the hot summer months, are not only demanding for our crews, but they are also challenging and exhausting,” says Black. He says these calls place “a tremendous strain” on HCES resources.
“If not for our HabSar Team and LACI (Lee Arrendale), I am not sure what we could do. They are vital to a successful response and mitigation of the incidents and we are blessed and extremely thankful to have both as part of the HCES team.”
This article has been updated to reflect that the incident occurred on Sunday, June 28, 2020.