Search crews rescue fallen hiker in Powell County

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POWELL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) Rescuers from several agencies pulled a hiker out of the woods after he'd fallen off a cliff at Pilot Knob early Sunday morning.

Rick Hamon of the Powell County Search and Rescue Team said volunteers got the call around 1:30 this morning. He said a teen had fallen about 20 to 25 feet from a cliff at Pilot Knob and had several serious injuries, including head trauma.

"We all knew we had to get this guy out quick. As quick as we could," Hamon said.

The crews knew getting him out would be a difficult task.

"This is steeper than anything we've got in the Gorge, steeper for a longer period of time," Hamon said.

The crews had to set up several rope systems to get themselves and all their gear up to where the teen was. Fatigue and the danger of slipping weren't the only problems. They also had to look for danger from Copperheads along the forest floor.

"When you started shining flashlights, you could see the eyes, which was very interesting," Hamon said.

By the time Hamon and his partner were about halfway up, they found out they'd need a suction unit, which was back at the trailhead. Hamon said one of his teammates made all the difference in the world by getting back down to the bottom, grabbing the gear, and getting all the way back up in about half the time it normally takes.

"He ran back down, got a suction unit, ran back up the hill, past us to the top, to get the suction unit to this guy. It kept this guy's lungs clear and he kept breathing all the way down. He's a hero. Very humble man. A very kind man. A hero," Hamon said.

Hamon said crews from Estill County, Wolfe County Search and Rescue, and Clay City Fire Department as well as the Powell County Sheriff helped get the teen out by about 5AM. He was airlifted to UK Hospital. There was no word on his condition Sunday afternoon.

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