Bear Hunter Hospitalized After Being Found Following 16-Hour Rescue Mission in Forest

The man was extracted from the area by a Black Hawk helicopter and transported to a local trauma center with severe injuries, authorities said



A bear hunter who had gone missing in a North Carolina forest has been found after a 16-hour rescue effort that involved a Black Hawk helicopter and more than 60 emergency personnel, authorities said.

First responders were dispatched to a large area of the Pisgah National Forest following reports of the lost hunter on Wednesday evening, according to McDowell County Emergency Management and ABC affiliate WLOS-TV.

The man suffered serious injuries after falling in an area known for its rocky cliffs, and emergency responders worked for seven hours through the night to execute a plan that would eventually extract him from the forest floor, per McDowell County Emergency Management and WLOS.

Multiple local, state and federal agencies were involved in the rescue, which included the first known rescue assistance involving a Black Hawk helicopter in the county, WLOS reported.

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"This was a very prolonged incident," William Kehler, McDowell County emergency services director, told the station amid the rescue, calling the operation a “huge team effort.”

He added, "[Rescuers have] been here throughout the night, throughout the day, and now, we've got to safely get all the emergency personnel and other hunters that were assisting out of the woods."

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North Carolina National Guard members aboard the Black Hawk eventually performed the “technical rescue” that successfully evacuated the man from the steep terrain, per McDowell County Emergency Management.

Less than 20 minutes later, another helicopter met the Black Hawk to transport the man to Mission Hospital's trauma center around 11:40 a.m. local time on Thursday, according to WLOS.

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It's not exactly clear how the hunter was injured.

Pisgah National Forest, about 30 miles northeast of Asheville, features 500,000 acres of “mile-high peaks, cascading waterfalls and heavily forested slopes,” according to the U.S. Forest Service.

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