An afternoon hiking trip Friday turned into a harrowing four-hour rescue that was televised on Atlanta news stations for a 22-year-old Cumming man.
The hiker, whose name has not been released, was near Cochran Falls off Frosty Mountain, in the northwest corner of Dawson County, when he fell 20 to 30 feet. Live footage from various Atlanta news stations showed the man being airlifted from the area shortly after 5 p.m.
The man was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he is currently recovering from surgery, according to Lanier Swafford, chief of Dawson County Emergency Services. He is expected to make a full recovery.
He suffered back injuries and broken bones, according to Swafford, but remained conscious throughout the entire ordeal.
The rescue involved 24 people, including staff from Dawson County Emergency Services, Lumpkin Fire and EMS, Big Canoe Public Safety, Amicalola Falls State Park, DNR Aviation and Air Life Georgia.
We also have to recognize Dawson County Communications, Swafford said. They took the call and handled everything very well, very professionally.
The Georgia State Parks website offers a selection of hiking safety tips, including never climb on waterfalls. A high number of injuries and deaths occur on waterfalls and slippery, wet rocks. A complete list of hiking safety tips is at georgiastateparks.org/Hiking-Safety.
This is a time of year with people going out hiking, said Kim Hatcher, public affairs coordinator for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Especially with waterfalls, people get too close and it can be really slippery.