Roanoke County Fire & Rescue Department was dispatched at about 8 p.m. last night to the Dragon’s Tooth portion of the Appalachian Trail for a lost hiker.
The 19-year old woman called 9-1-1 after becoming separated from her four friends and not able to find her way off the trail in the dark.
A command post was established in the Dragon’s Tooth parking lot off Route 311 and three teams where assembled. One group entered the trail from the parking lot, the second entered from Miller’s Cover Road and the third entered from Pickle Branch Road. The Roanoke County Emergency Communications Center was able to track the young woman’s GPS coordinates through her cell phone and relay this information to the search teams.
It took crews a little over an hour to find the young woman. She was provided warm clothing,
water and food and assessed to have no injuries. It took crews an additional hour to hike off the
trail and return the young woman back to the parking lot.
There were about 20 volunteer and career personnel from the Masons Cove, Catawba and Fort
Lewis stations committed to this search and rescue operation.
The four other hikers did come off the trail during the search operation.
***SAFETY MESSAGE: When hiking on the numerous trails around the valley, always take with
you a fully charged cell phone, extra clothing, water and food. Plan where you are going and how
to return before dark.
Submitted by Jennifer Conley-Sexton; Roanoke County Fire & EMS