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Tennessee National Guard rescues hiker in cardiac distress near Appalachian Trail

On Tuesday at around 12:30 p.m. emergency crews learned about a 56-year-old hiker who was suffering "cardiac distress" at the Derrick Knob Shelter.
Credit: Tennessee National Guard

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A medical flight crew from the Tennessee National Guard helped save a hiker who had chest pains deep in the mountains, near the Appalachian Trail.

They said the Tennessee Military Department and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency learned about a 56-year-old hiker having cardiac distress at around 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The hiker was at the Derrick Knob Shelter off the Appalachian Trail, near the Tennessee and North Carolina line.

At around 1 p.m. a helicopter and crew assigned to the 1-230th Assault Helicopter Battalion left Louisville and flew to the shelter. The crew included Daniel Backus, who was the pilot in command. Lt. Brandon Rodriguez piloted the helicopter with Sgt. Christopher Farrar, Sgt. 1st Class Giovanni DeZuani, and Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Banta.

Farrar lowered Banta and DeZuani near the shelter and they readied the hiker to be hoisted up into the air. They then flew to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where the hiker was taken to an emergency room.

They said the entire rescue mission took around an hour to complete.

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