Yesterday was not a good day on Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441). After being shut-down as a result of a rock slide on Sunday evening, the main artery through the park was reopened late in the morning, only to be shut-down once again just a couple of hours later.
Around noon yesterday, a large motor home went off the road and slid about 100 feet down an extremely steep embankment, injuring six of its seven occupants – two seriously. The accident occurred on the North Carolina side of the park - roughly 3 miles south of Newfound Gap.
The driver of the motor home was attempting to pull off the Newfound Gap Road onto the shoulder, but was unable to stop before the shoulder became too narrow to support the vehicle. The RV fell onto its side and slid about 100 feet down the embankment. The driver was uninjured, but all six passengers were hurt – two with severe injuries were flown to a hospital in Asheville, while the other four were taken by ambulance to Cherokee Hospital with less serious injuries.
Newfound Gap Road was shut-down around 12:30 p.m. as emergency personnel from the park and several North Carolina agencies converged on the scene to provide medical assistance to the patients and conduct technical rescue operations. When emergency personnel arrived on scene, all but two of the passengers were alongside the road. The two victims who were airlifted out had to be hoisted up the embankment by medical personnel.
The road remained closed through the early evening in order to allow a crane service to remove the RV from the site.