Thanks to a team effort involving Gaston County, North Carolina, officers and park rangers, hikers and a drone, a missing 18-year-old man (whose name wasn’t released) was rescued from Crowders Mountain State Park on August 17.
The state park stretches over 5,000 acres and has been a popular destination for rock climbers and hikers for several decades, but has been home to several tragedies. In May 2015, a woman fell to her death shortly after reaching the Pinnacle, the tallest point of the park, which was the 14th accidental death attributed to a fall over the previous 10 years.
Finding the missing hiker was imperative as soon as law enforcement was notified that he had been missing since the previous day.
“North Carolina park rangers subsequently located the missing person’s vehicle at Crowders Mountain State Park and began searching the area,” the Gaston County Police posted on Facebook. “Park rangers requested assistance from the Gaston County Police Drone Unit, Gaston Emergency Medical Services (GEMS), Gastonia Fire Department and Gaston County Emergency Management.”
Soon after the search began, hikers heard the missing man screaming for help.
“About two hills up, you could hear somebody yelling, ‘Help, water,’” hiker Haskle Good Jr. told WSOC-TV. “It’s something your parents raised you to do — just always do the right thing and look out for each other.”
Officers credited Good Jr. and his two friends for helping significantly narrow the search, which covered several miles of mountainous terrain. A police drone soon spotted the man, who was located in a remote area of the mountain very close to a 30-to-40-foot sheer drop.
“The GCPD Drone Unit was able to pinpoint the exact location of the missing person, who was in a remote area of the mountain and in medical distress,” the department shared. “The drone was able to guide rescue personnel in and allowed GEMS personnel to have eyes on the patient to determine a treatment and rescue plan. A successful rescue of the patient was conducted thanks to the joint efforts of all the agencies involved.”