Rescuers speak out after saving climber injured in fall from mou - KCTV5

Rescuers speak out after saving climber injured in fall from mountain

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Crew members on board the Black Hawk that helped rescue climber from Shortoff Mountain Crew members on board the Black Hawk that helped rescue climber from Shortoff Mountain
SHORTOFF MOUNTAIN, NC (WBTV) -

A climber who fell from a mountain in Burke County was rescued from the side of the mountain by rescue crews on Monday evening.

Crews on scene told WBTV that a man, later identified as Jackson DePew, fell from Shortoff Mountain while climbing. DePew is alive and was rescued from the side of the mountain nearly three hours after falling.

WBTV has learned that he is breathing but has major back pain from the fall.

A Black Hawk helicopter was brought in and reached DePew around 5:35 p.m. on Monday. Rescue crews had previously made their way to the injured man on the ground.

The Blackhawk helicopter was from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 131st Aviation Regiment based at the Army National Guard Aviation Facility based at the Rowan County Airport. 

Captain Darrell Scoggins, Company Commander for Blackhawk Company in Salisbury, was flying the Black Hawk during Monday's rescue.

"You're proud this guy is going to be reunited with his family," Scoggins told WBTV. "We pulled him out of a sticky situation and we're just happy we could be there to help."

Crew members told WBTV the Black Hawk was about 150 feet above the rock ledge, which is a long hoist for a rescue. The helicopter was hovering just ten to 15 feet from the rock face.

The crew flies as a part of the North Carolina Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART). NCHART takes part in Wilderness High Angle Rescues like Monday afternoons, as well as swiftwater and flooding rescues and lost persons searches.

Captain Chris Hendricks with Gaston County EMS was the worker who brought DePew into the helicopter.

"He was pretty concentrated on the pain," Hendricks said of the climber who was able to talk to rescuers. "You could see the look in his face - he was hurting pretty good."

WBTV has learned that DePew was taken to Mission Hospital in Asheville for treatment.

Charlotte Fire Captain Maurice Taylor was the rescue team leader.  He told WBTV there was never any danger for the crew, saying things went smoothly.

"This is exactly what we train for," Taylor said adding that crews do quarterly training for situations like this.

"It's a feeling of satisfaction. That's what we are out here to do," Taylor said. "It's a job well done and it brings us together. More of the reason we do what we do."

Shortoff Mountain is near the Linville Gorge and has a steep face that is popular among rock climbers.

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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