GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK - A man died from cardiac distress while on the Alum Cave Trail Saturday morning, according to a release from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The man, Phillip Basset Davenport, 47, was from Nashville and hiking with a group of friends. He had stayed the night before at LeConte Lodge.
He suddenly passed out three miles from the trailhead and bystanders administered CPR, according to the release.
Park medics responded, and Davenport was taken to LeConte Medical Center. He died Saturday at 11:14 a.m.
Dana Soehn, spokesperson for the park, said Davenport died before rangers could get to him.
Now park rangers are reminding hikers of the risks that come along with heading into the backcountry.
"When people are hiking in the park, they need to be aware that they are many hours away from help if they're in an emergency situation," Soehn said.
With 848 miles of back country trails, it can take several hours for rangers to get to you.
"The best thing you can do is stay on the trail. For our rangers to respond and find you quickly, that's the easiest way for us to get to you," she said.
Park rangers remind hikers to research the trails, know where you're going and know your limits.
"You also want to pick trails that are appropriate for you skill level. You want to make sure you are physically fit to go in certain areas," Nick Yarnell, a backcountry ranger for the park, said.
This is the third death in the park this year. All three of those deaths took place in the backcountry. Soehn said the park averages about 10 deaths every year and the vast majority of those are usually car crashes.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is regularly the most visited national park in the country. Over 11 million people visited the park in 2016.
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