Appalachian Trail hiker trapped by snow is rescued
GATLINBURG, Tenn. - An Appalachian Trail hiker has been rescued from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park after calling 911 to say he didn't think he'd be able to make his way out because of snowdrifts up to 5 feet high left by Superstorm Sandy.
Park service spokeswoman Molly Schroer says rescuers used two helicopters Friday to pick up 56-year-old Steven Ainsworth, of Washington, N.C. Schroer says Ainsworth's condition is being assessed at an airport in Gatlinburg, Tenn.
She says Ainsworth used his cellphone to call 911 on Thursday afternoon. He spoke to dispatchers again Friday morning and said he was hunkering down and might not be able to hike out of the park located on the Tennessee-North Carolina border.
Two rangers trying to reach him walked nine hours on Thursday before taking shelter.
IMAGE: Billy Hathorn / Wikipedia