On the evening of Sept. 11, Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services responded to a 911 call from an injured hiker near Amicalola Falls State Park and conducted a search that resulted in rescuing the injured male but also in discovering the body of his deceased girlfriend.
According to Dawson County Fire Chief Danny Thompson, a 911 call came in at about 4:25 p.m. that an injured hiker needed assistance near Cochran Creek Falls.
Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services crews responded to the scene and were able to locate the injured male by 5:55 p.m.
“They were able to locate the male subject, and at that time in speaking with him he said that he had a girlfriend who went to try to get help for him,” Thompson said. “The girlfriend was unaccounted for, so one search group began the extraction of the male subject who was injured while the next group began to search for the female subject.”
The male, who was discovered by another hiker who called 911, was transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where his condition is stable according to Thompson. At approximately 7:13 p.m., the search ended with finding the female dead at the bottom of Cochran Creek Falls.
The Dawson County Sheriff’s Department will be the lead agency investigating the details of the incident, and the names of the hikers, both of whom were in their early 20s, are being withheld pending notification of the next of kin.
“At this point it’s too early to say what happened to the female,” Thompson said. “There are several walking trails in the area that a lot of hikers utilize, and she was not found on a trail but at the bottom of the falls.”
In light of this incident and a similar one the day before on Sept. 10 where a man got lost on the Hike Inn trail at Amicalola Falls, Thompson said he would encourage hikers to take every possible precaution when going on a hiking trip.
“If you go up here to go hiking, have a plan to know where you’re going, utilize trail mapping programs and GPS locating devices, and tell your family when you’re going to be returning,” Thompson said. “Make sure you have spare cell phone batteries and extra water and nutrition.”
If a hiker does get lost, Thompson said the most important thing to do is to contact 911 and stop moving.
“If you get lost on the trail, stop where you’re at, notify 911 and don’t keep walking because then you just become a moving target,” Thompson said.
The incident with the hikers is currently still under investigation by the Dawson County Sheriff’s Department. Both the Department of Natural Resources and Georgia State Patrol Aviation assisted Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services with the search.