Whitesburg KY
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Rescuers find lost hiker here




Letcher County emergency crews worked quickly Sunday to find a hiker lost in the Bad Branch Nature Preserve near Ovenfork.

Letcher County Director of Emergency Management Paul Miles said he received a call from Kentucky State Police dispatchers about 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon about a lost hiker in the Bad Branch Falls area. The hiker had a cell phone with a very weak signal and didn’t know where he was, but was able to get in touch with the E-911 operator.

Miles said he sent pages out to emergency response teams and within two hours, volunteers had found the hiker and returned him to safety.

Miles said the quick response and knowledge of the area by the local rescuers prevented the situation from becoming more serious. He said the team members have enthusiastically embraced training sessions and can respond with ATVs, on horseback, or on foot. Miles also said the teams have several expert trackers, emergency medical technicians, and a number of ex-military members who can pinpoint locations by using maps and a compass as well as the more modern Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) method.

“It took about two hours from the time I received the call until they located him,” said Miles. “He made it to a marker and had enough signal to call in again. We had people who lived in the area who knew the hollow he was in and he was located safely.”

District Two Magistrate Archie Banks was highly complimentary of the teams’ effort and said the diversity and level of talent represented by the emergency response units is very impressive.

Banks also said the county’s “One Call” emergency notification system is now operational and was used to warn residents of Craft’s Colly about the possibility of a silt pond break last week. He said every registered telephone number in the county is on the One Call list and if citizens of Letcher County wish to have their cell phone added, all they have to do is go to the Letcher County website (http:/ /www.letchercounty.ky.gov) and follow the link to receive warnings and updates on their cell phone.

Miles said a recent training session on land navigation was held on Pine Mountain and emergency response workers were trained in both compass and map and GPS. Miles said the number of volunteers both surprised and pleased him.

“I never dreamed the teams would take off like they have,” said Miles. “They’re very versatile and are full of expertise in different areas.”


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