A Whitesburg man is fighting for his life in a Tennessee hospital after falling from atop Bad Branch Falls, the second such incident in as many months.
Emergency personnel responded to the popular nature preserve Saturday evening after 26-year-old Justin Lee Maynard fell from atop the falls, an estimated 70-foot drop, onto the rocks below. According to Pine Mountain Search and Rescue, Maynard landed on his feet, but his body could not withstand the force of the fall and he suffered injuries to several areas of his body, including his head.
After reaching Maynard and securing him to bring him to a waiting ambulance, emergency responders taking part in Maynard’s rescue effort ran into some difficulty along the way off the trail. Several first responders suffered stings from yellow jackets after inadvertently disturbing a nest along the trail. First responders from Jenkins also reported that they encountered a copperhead snake during the rescue effort.
All first responders who were injured during the rescue effort were treated at the scene.
According to social media posts by Maynard’s friends and family, the former Peace Corps volunteer remains in coma, and is showing limited brain activity.
Maynard is the second person to fall from atop the falls this summer. In July, 22-year-old Kara Kennedy, of Wise, Va., fell and suffered critical injuries, which resulted in her eventually losing her leg. Kennedy has since been released from Pikeville Medical Center, where she underwent weeks of treatment.