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VIDEO: Blackhawk helicopter pulls fallen climber from rocky ledge

Posted at 5:51 PM, Mar 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-11 17:51:30-04

LINVILLE GORGE, NC (WTVR) -- National Guard members rescued a mountain climber who fell between 20 and 40 feet at Linville Gorge.

It happened Monday on Shortoff Mountain in the Pisgah National Forest.

A National Guard crew member dropped from a Blackhawk helicopter to rescue the 23-year-old climber.

After fighting the winds, the rescuer was able to meet emergency crews already clinging to the mountainside to help.After dangling near the side, he was planted on the steep ledge as crews worked to open up the backboard and secure the climber.

Then, another rescuer swung into help. When three rescuers got the ropes in place, they prepared to lift the climber to the helicopter.

After the successful effort, two other crew members were pulled up to the chopper.

The Blackhawk helicopter flew to a nearby landing zone where it met with a medical helicopter and the hiker was taken to an Asheville hospital.

The men on the rescue team came from several different departments.

“We've been practicing for this moment for over 10 years,” the Charlotte Fire Department’s David Bowman said. “He was in a lot of pain so there wasn't a lot of interaction other than I was telling him what was going to happen.”

Capt. Darrel Scoggins with the N.C. National Guard watched from overhead in the helicopter as the two hoisted the patient to safety.

The team is part of the North Carolina Helo-Aquatic Rescue Team and have more than 60 successful rescues.