Stranded Hiker Rescued from Backcountry
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (865) 436-1207
Steven Ainsworth, 56, of Washington, North Carolina was successfully airlifted from the Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park this afternoon. Ainsworth had become stranded on a remote section of the trail as a result of the snow storm that blanketed higher elevations of the park earlier this week.
At 2:54 pm, a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter that had been called in to assist rangers with search and rescue efforts was able to retrieve Ainsworth from the Park's backcountry and transport him to the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport in Sevierville, Tennessee. From there, he was taken by ambulance to LeConte Medical Center in Sevierville for medical evaluation.
Did You Know?
An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001. Elk once roamed the Smokies, but were eliminated from the region in the mid 1800s by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Other animals successfully reintroduced to the park include river otters and barn owls. More...