Helicopter rescues hiker injured by falling tree in the Smokies

7:26 PM, Jun 14, 2013   |    comments
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A 53-year-old hiker was rescued Friday after a tree fell on him during a storm and he sustained multiple injuries.

The Great Smokies National Park said Nathan Lipsom of Cambridge, Mass., was hiking on Low Gap Trail on Thursday when the storm hit. A park ranger discovered him Friday morning.

A helicopter from North Carolina rescued him Friday evening because many trails were blocked due to downed trees.

Lipsom is recovering at Mission Hospital in Asheville.

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A hiker in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park spent a painful night in the woods after he was injured by a falling tree during Thursday's storm.

A park spokesperson says a back country ranger found the 53-year-old man on Friday around 11:30 am with a broken ankle and other injuries while he was inspecting the trails on Friday. 

The ranger stayed with the injured man, who was on the Low Gap Trail near Cosby, and radioed for help.

Park medics were sent to the man's location Friday afternoon, along with a team to cut and clear the debris that's blocking the path, but the paths were so heavily damaged by the storm, they couldn't get to him.

The Park has ordered a Blackhawk helicopter from the state of North Carolina with winching capabilities, to extricate the patient.  If the helicopter can't get the man out, a crew will keep working to clear a path so that rescue teams can reach him.

The ranger with the injured man says he appears to be in a relatively good health, other than the broken ankle.

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