ASU student from Charlotte falls while rappelling in mountains

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AVERY COUNTY - An Appalachian State University student fell while rappelling in Avery County on Saturday afternoon.

Reporter Dave Faherty was on the scene as dozens of volunteers scrambled to reach the injured climber and find a way to get him to safety.

The student, 21, fell 70 feet. He sustained serious injuries and was flown to Johnson City Medical Center.
Volunteers from across Avery County and northern Burke County worked together to get the injured climber out of the woods.

The student is from south Charlotte; there were six other students with him when he fell in the Little Lost Cove, not far from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Rescuers had to carry the victim half a mile through the woods before reaching an ATV to take him another mile down a narrow trail. Rescuers say when it comes to getting help in remote areas, it comes down to teamwork.

“Have you ever tried to carry a 200-pound person 2.5 miles out of these woods? That’s why we need a lot of help,” said Larry Cuthbertson with Linville Central Rescue.

Volunteers scrambled to clear tree limbs from a grassy field so a medical helicopter could land. The friends of the fallen climber appreciate the hard work of the volunteers.

"They were out here real quick.  We were sitting in the woods for no more than an hour before the first help arrived.  Just really thankful it has turned out the way it has so far," said the victim’s friend Chris Moore.

His friends said the climber had a serious shoulder injury and possibly a head injury.