Tenn. National Guard completes emergency air evacuation to rescue hiker just outside of Gatlinburg

Members of the Tennessee National Guard rescued a hiker who was suffering from chest pains along the Appalachian Trail Tuesday.
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 12:01 AM EDT
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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) - A hiker was rescued by a medical flight crew with the Tennessee National Guard at the Derrick Knob Shelter off the Appalachian Trail Tuesday, according to officials with the Army.

Emergency personnel were notified that a 56-year-old hiker was suffering cardiac arrest and were alerted to find and transport the hiker to the nearest hospital.

The five-person flight crew, flying in a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter with the 1-230th Assault Helicopter Battalion, were able to find the hiker and safely transport them to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

“After, a 20-minute flight, the aircraft landed at UT Medical Center where the patient was rushed to the emergency room,” officials with the Army said. “The entire rescue mission took less than one hour.”

The flight crew consisted of pilot in command Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Backus, pilot 1st Lt. Brandon Rodriguez, crew chief Sgt. Christopher Farrar and flight paramedics Sgt. 1st Class Giovanni DeZuani and Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Banta.

Banta and DeZuani were lowered to the ground to treat the hiker then fasten them into the hoist and back into the helicopter where they continued to treat the hiker until they got to UTMC, according to a spokesperson with the Army.