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Missing man rescued in Harlan County

By: Rebekah Pewitt Email
By: Rebekah Pewitt Email

HARLAN, Ky. (WYMT) – A 74-year-old man was rescued from the mountains of Harlan County, who had been missing since Thursday.

Family members of 74-year-old Rufus White say the mountains of Big Creek are familiar territory.

“He knows those mountains I mean that's his life he goes in those mountains every day,” said his daughter Paula Clem.

But family members were forced to send out search and rescue teams Thursday night when White never came home from hunting for ginseng.

“It was the following morning we got a phone call from my sister that dad had been in the mountains he hadn't returned and they were searching for him,” said Clem.

Crews searched until Saturday morning, when White eventually made it out of the woods in Evarts.
Teams from Harlan, Bell, Knott, and Letcher counties aided in the search.

“We actually found where he sat down and ate lunch. We found his pop can and stuff what, he had with him we found that and marked it,” said Harlan County Rescue Squad Captain, Chris Allen.

Once in the hospital, White told his family what happened.

“He'd actually fallen off a low cliff, and couldn't get back up to where he was at so when he had fallen he was kind of stuck where he was,” said White’s son, Rick White.

But they say he crawled up the mountainside to a nearby home with what strength he had left.

“It's great. Like I say I never lost no doubt, because if there's a true mountain man around it’s him,” said Allen.

And this mountain man will live to explore the hills of Eastern Kentucky another day.

White was treated at the Harlan ARH for a few scrapes bruises as well dehydration.


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