On January 25, 2016 around 2:40 p.m., the Haywood 911 Center received a call regarding a person stranded about 300’-400’ from the top of Mount Pisgah along the cable car path. Mount Pisgah is home to several radio receivers, repeaters and transmitters, and the stranded person was a service worker on-site. The cable car path, used to winch supplies up the mountain, is along a very steep incline.
Cold temperatures and heavy snow on the mountain made access to the area treacherous. Cruso FD, Haywood Search and Rescue, Sheriff’s Office, Lake Logan FD and Emergency Management responded to the call.
Additional teams trained in technical mountain rescue from Henderson, Buncombe, Avery and Mitchell Counties were also requested because of the hazardous terrain and weather impacting the rescue area.
North Carolina Department of Transportation used a motor grader to plow highway 276 and the Blue Ridge parkway so rescuers could drive to the parking area of the trailhead to Mount Pisgah to assist in the rescue effort.
A National Guard rescue helicopter was coordinated through State Emergency Management to assist. As rescuers made their way up the steep, hazardous trail on foot, the rescue helicopter flew over the scene and dropped helicopter crews. The helicopter crews were able to safely hoist the stranded person into the helicopter at approximately 9 p.m. The person was flown and dropped off at Asheville Airport uninjured.
A total of 56 responders assisted with this highly technical incident and no responder injuries were reported.