17 departments help rescue hiker who fell 40+ feet, got wedged in crevice

The teenager was found 100 feet above Raven Cliff Falls, resulting in “dangerous terrain and extreme technicality,” according to White County Fire Services


Alison Cutler
The Charlotte Observer

HELEN, Ga.— It wasn’t an easy rescue, officials said. Even with 17 departments on hand, helping the stranded hiker felt “out of reach” at times, according to rescuers.

But they didn’t give up.

White County Fire Services got a call around 5:20 p.m. May 20 about a hiker who had slipped and plunged between 40-50 feet off Raven Cliff Falls. The hiker was taking a picture when she fell, according to the Gainesville Fire Department.

The hiker was a teenage girl, Now Habersham reported.

When rescuers scouted the area, they found the hiker just before 7 p.m. She was still about 100 feet above the falls and was wedged into a narrow rock crevice, according to the White County Public Safety Facebook.

The rocky outcrop was located right where the cliff met the falls, according to White County Fire Services, which resulted in “dangerous terrain and extreme technicality.”

“The situation looked grim,” Chris Wright, a member of the Rabun County Technical Rescue Team, told Now Habersham. “Through grit and determination, a multi-agency team from all over the region pulled off a miracle.”

Multiple rescuers made their way down the falls to the hiker to help her out of the crevice, White County Fire Services said.

She was stuck from the chest down in the rocks, according to Now Habersham.

“Rescue personnel worked tirelessly on freeing the lodged patient throughout the evening. The patient was freed from the rock crevice at 11:16 pm,” White County Public Safety said on Facebook.

Responders were surprised — and relieved — that the hiker didn’t suffer any severe injuries.

“In a miraculous turn of events the female was able to walk assisted back out to the command post for evaluation and transport for minor injuries,” the Gainesville Fire Department wrote on Facebook.

The hiker was transported out of the area around 1:30 a.m., and rescuers stayed on the scene until 3:30 a.m. to remove equipment, according to White County Fire Services.

“While I played a very minor role in the overall rescue, there were two lessons I was reminded of: Don’t ever quit, don’t miss the blessing,” Wright told Now Habersham. “To see the smile on her face — to know she had been given a new life — was priceless.”

Raven Cliff Falls area is about 90 miles northeast of Atlanta.

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