Lenoir City man falls 60 feet from Abrams Falls Trail

By Jessica Stith of The Daily Times Staff

A 77-year-old Lenoir City man, (Max Gilbert), fell about 60 feet from Abrams Falls Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at about 1 p.m. today.

Nancy Gray, spokesperson for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Services, said the man was walking the narrow trail with a female companion when they somehow lost their footing. She said the woman fell about 10 feet.

“He fell about 60 feet off of the trail,” Gray said.

Gray said it is uncertain how the two hikers lost their footing. She said when the Lenoir City man fell, he rolled uncontrollably head over feet down the steep and rocky ridge.

A nearby hiker was fortunately able to get a signal on his cell phone to call for help, Gray said. She said it is usually rare to find a signal in that area of the park, and it could have taken an additional 45 minutes to an hour to hike to a location where a phone could be used.

Gray said there was also a group of nurses and EMTs hiking the trail nearby, who stabilized and aided the man. The nurses, EMTs and six or seven park service employees carried the man about two and ¼ miles to the trail head.

Rural/Metro Ambulance Service took the man from the trail to the Cades Cove Visitor Center where they met Lifestar helicopter. He was then flown to a local hospital.

Gray said the man was conscious but disoriented and suffered serious injuries from the fall. She said he had a laceration on the back of his head, and “most likely some broken bones.”