Putnam County rope rescue team saves injured man in ‘difficult’ Burgess Falls rescue

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PUTNAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Rescuers in Putnam County are calling it one of the most technical rescues they have in experienced in nearly 35 years.

“I’ve been doing rope rescue since 1986,” said Eddy Hayes, a member of the rope rescue team in Putnam County.

Officials say on Tuesday afternoon, a man and woman walked beyond a barrier at Burgess Falls State Park to rock climb, which is against park rules. Somehow, the man slipped and fell to a rock landing below.

“He sustained serious leg and pelvic injuries. He had an arterial bleed in his leg,” Hayes explained.

The area where the two were stranded was also extremely flooded due to heavy rain days before.

“The high water made it impossible for us to do a boat extraction,” Hayes said, “So, then we had to use ropes… we had a narrow area, not much wider than a bus that we could walk out on and work. So, it did make it a lot more difficult.”

Rescue teams also had to take extra precaution to make sure everyone involved got out safely.

“Due to the small area, we tried to limit the number of people down there,” said Hayes. “We went down and evaluated a spot to do the lift and once we found the spot, we did the rigging and the bolting and then we moved in some people for the haul team; the actual muscle of it all.”

Both people were safely rescued. The man involved was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center by helicopter.

Rescuers say the best way to avoid something like this is to stay away from wet areas, and try to keep your feet and tires dry.

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