WHITLEY COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - After spending more than a day stranded near a southern Kentucky lake, some hikers are now safe.
They were rescued from Laurel River Lake in Whitley County Friday evening. Emergency crews say the hikers became trapped when the water got too high.
They are smiling now after finally being rescued. But that was hardly the case overnight when they noticed they were stranded. The dam having crept up on them while hiking in Whitley County.
"There's no way we could have crossed the river," said Hagen Paul, one of the stranded hiker. "It was impossible."
Paul, his girlfriend, Coty Jones, and his younger brother were all together in the woods and quickly realized their trip would be extended.
"They started screaming that the water was coming up and about that time I got three quarters of the way back to them. It was already up to my waist, and it took me down stream," said Paul.
They were there overnight with no way to cross the dam without help. And with temperatures in the 70s Thursday, they weren't dressed for a cold night either. But smart thinking and a trusty backpack probably saved their lives.
"Luckily, I had my backpack on me which had a lighter and stuff in it and my fishing pole," said Paul.
"It wasn't bad. He took care of us. I built them a fire and fed them cajun trout," said Coty Jones, another one of the stranded hikers.
All together they say they are blessed, only suffering from mild hypothermia.
"A lot of times it doesn't end so lucky, and we had a lot of people that were looking out for us," said Paul.
Paul says his mother knew something had to be wrong with his little brother not back in time for school on Friday. They also say family members were able to signal and locate them Thursday night but just couldn't reach them.