Monday, June 17, 2013

Man Injured by Falling Tree on Low Gap Trail Airlifted

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Rangers were involved in the rescue of a 53-year-old male who had been struck by a falling tree during the storm event of Thursday, June 13th. Nathan Lipsom, from Cambridge, MA, was hiking along Low Gap Trail when the storm hit around 4:00 pm and sustained multiple injuries.

A Park Backcountry Ranger was patrolling the trails around Cosby and Big Creek on Friday morning to check on hikers, and trail conditions in the area, when he discovered the injured hiker at approximately 11:30 am. The ranger remained with Lipsom while the Park began organizing a rescue operation. A Park Medic was immediately dispatched to the site to further evaluate and stabilize the patient’s condition.

Due to the number of downed trees from the storm, the trails around the Cosby and Big Creek areas were impassable for the rescue team. The Park ordered a Blackhawk helicopter from the state of North Carolina with winching capabilities to extricate the patient. Lipsom was then flown to the airport in Asheville, NC, and transported by ground to Mission Hospital.

A National Weather Service crew has confirmed an EF-1 tornado in the Cosby area during the June 13th storm.

Right now the Gabes Mountain Trail and Snake Den Ridge Trail in Cosby, and the Baxter Creek Trail and the Big Creek Trail in Big Creek remain closed due to scores of downed trees. The trails are impassable by foot or horse.

In addition to trail closures, the Park has also closed “B” Loop of Cosby Campground. Backcountry Campsites 29, 34, 36, 37 and 38 are all closed as well. There's no estimate for reopening the trails or the campgrounds at this time.

For the most up to date closure information, visit the Park’s website, or call our Backcountry Office at 865-436-1297.

Hiking in the Smokies


Julia said...

That's awful! I hope he's fine now. Hiking I'm sure is fun, but it's always smart to have one or two people coming along with you just in case something happens. Hopefully he won't be discouraged about going on fun hikes and other outdoor adventures.

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Actually I posted an update on him this morning. According to NPS Digest, he suffered a compound leg fracture, a spinal injury, and broken ribs.

He spent the night in that condition!

Hopefully he's doing better...