Tennessee Highway Patrol Aviation & Special Operations Unit Rescues Injured Volunteer on Great Smoky Mountains
NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Highway Patrol Aviation and Special Operations Unit assisted in the rescue of an injured man on the Snake Den Ridge Trail of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park on Sunday afternoon.
Vetice Bates, 68, a volunteer “Trail Blazer” with the National Park Service was working with the backcountry horsemen to pack out equipment used by the Rocky Top Appalachian Trail Crew when he was injured after falling from his horse at approximately 8 p.m. on Saturday evening. Due to the risk involved with a nighttime rescue, members of the park’s search and rescue team hiked up the trail with equipment to shelter in place until help could arrive.
The THP aviation unit was delayed due to heavy fog on Sunday morning; however, arrived at the Sevierville Airport by noontime to pick up a park medic to assume medical care of the injured at the rescue location. The crew of five state troopers located the victim and conducted the rescue hoist without incident.
The patient was flown to the Sevierville Airport and transported by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center at approximately 1:30 p.m.
Lt. Brad Lund and Sgt. Mark Musick served as the pilot and co-pilots, respectively, while Troopers Jeff Pollard, Denny Mitchell and Mark Jones made up the remaining THP aviation crew members.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to serve, secure, and protect the people of Tennessee.