Hiker survives 60-foot fall at Red River Gorge

By: Jordan Vilines Email
By: Jordan Vilines Email

POWELL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT/WYMT) - On Saturday, rescue crews from across eastern Kentucky worked tirelessly to help a man who suffered life-threatening injuries at Red River Gorge.

We’re told the man was camping with a friend near Tunnel Ridge Road near Stanton when he slipped on an icy rock and fell 60 feet down a cliff.

“They were setting up camp and he stepped on an icy rock and slipped and fell off,” said Eddie Conner with Wolfe County Search and Rescue.

According to workers, the hiker had fallen into a crevasse dozens of feet deep and was lodged between two large rocks.

To complicate the rescue mission even more, the man was way off the beaten track about three miles into a trail within the gorge.

“It took us about an hour just to hike in and then a couple hours on scene to get him out and then a couple more to hike him back up. It was a mess,” said John May with Wolfe County Search and Rescue.

And Saturday’s weather only made matters worse.

“The weather really played a factor in our rescue. It made things muddy, there was some ice on rocks and the cold weather played a toll on our patient,” Conner told us.

After more than eight hours and with the help of a group of 20 workers--the man made it out alive.

“I fully expect him to make a recovery from this. He’s very lucky. When you fall 60 feet like that it’s typically a fatal fall so he was very lucky,” May said.

Officials could not tell us the extent of the man's injuries but they did say he is in critical condition at this point and that's mostly because of how long he was out in the cold.

The hiker is now recovering at UK Hospital.

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