An injured hiker was successfully airlifted from Low Gap Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Friday evening, June 14. Nathan Lipsom, a 53-yearold male from Cambridge, Mass., was injured from a falling tree while hiking the trail during a severe storm on Thursday, June 13.
Lipsom was rescued by a Blackhawk helicopter, coordinated through Haywood County and the N.C. Division of Emergency Management. He was flown to Asheville Regional Airport, where he was transported by ground to Mission Hospital. Park staff assisted the airlift operation on the ground and provided two medics and an emergency medical technician. Damage to the trails around the Cosby and Big Creek areas prevented ground rescuers from reaching Lipsom for a timely evacuation.
The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-1 tornado in the Cosby area during the June 13 storm. A Park Backcountry Ranger was patrolling the trails around Cosby and Big Creek on the morning of June 14 to assess storm damage when he discovered Lipsom and solicited help.