Press release Haywood County government:
The recent rescue of two hikers in the Shining Rock Wilderness would not have been possible without the efforts of over 100 local, regional, state and federal responders. “There are two men alive today because of the efforts of people who have a heart of servitude,” said Sheriff Greg Christopher. “I have never been more proud of a group of folks, many of whom are volunteers, who risked so much to find these men. On behalf of Haywood County and our Sheriff’s Office, we are grateful for all who took part in this search and rescue.”
At least 5 federal agencies, 24 state and local and 11 county agencies participated in the search. According to Greg Shuping, Haywood County Emergency Management Director, preparedness and training were key to the success of the search, “Although the direct expense of search and rescue to the county is quite low, the preparedness efforts through equipping, training and maintenance represent the real cost. It’s difficult to quantify the thousands of man hours spent training and preparing for these incidents.” Last winter, the Haywood Search and Rescue Squad spent 3 days training to conduct rescues under these conditions.
Resources mobilized for the search included 5 specialized mountain search and rescue teams from the region, three helicopters, and hot, homemade food for search teams provided by the East Fork Baptist Church. “Assistance from neighboring counties was an essential factor in the positive outcome of this large-scale event; we deeply appreciate their support” stated County Manager Ira Dove.