FLEETWOOD-First responders from Ashe and Wilkes Counties descended on the Blue Ridge Parkway Friday night in response to a reported fall in the national park.
According to scanner traffic, the incident occurred sometime before 5:30 p.m. Friday when a man tumbled down Cascades Falls, according to the Ashe County Rescue Squad’s Rob Blevins. The Cascades is a popular portion of E.B. Jeffress Park at milepost 272.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The park lies close to the border of both Ashe and Wilkes Counties. With training in high-angle rescue, the Ashe County Rescue Squad was called to the scene to assist Wilkes County agencies, including Wilkes County EMS and the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office.
Blevins said the victim slipped while attempting to take a picture near the falls.
“We believe he got out across the boundary at the waterfall and took a ride to the bottom,” Blevins said. “It’s a long way down, maybe 150-180 feet. People get across that wall and it’s slick with leaves and water and moss. A lot of folks don’t survive that fall. In fact, this may be one of the luckiest folks I’ve ever heard of.”
Emergency responders were able to treat the man at the scene and ultimately cart him up the hill to E.B. Jeffress Park, Blevins said.
According to the Wilkes Journal-Patriot, the victim was taken from the scene by Wilkes EMS ambulance at about 7:40 p.m., transported to Wilkes Regional Medical Center and then taken by AirCare helicopter to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.
The victim’s identity is not known at presstime.
Other agencies responding to the scene include the National Park Service, Fleetwood and Glendale Springs Volunteer Fire Departments, and Ashe Medics.
“It was cold, dark and you’re trying to take your time because the last thing you want to do is put somebody else in a bad situation working on the side of a mountain in those conditions,” Blevins said. “But everybody worked really well together. We had good communication with Wilkes and all the other personnel and from setup to the time we got him out of there, everybody just clicked right along.”
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058.