Woman who fell down Walden cliff released from Erlanger - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Woman who fell down Walden cliff released from Erlanger

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Story by Paul Shahen

Eyewitness News Reporter

WALDEN, HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) --  A group of 30 volunteers working for one goal. 21-year-old Toni Bedwell was found almost a mile in the woods.

Two and a half hours later, rescue crews had her stabilized in a helicopter headed to Erlanger.

The sights that Falling Water Trail offer are one of a kind. But getting there can be very dangerous.

Toni Bedwell and two friends battled the steep terrain on their way to a swimming hole.

Things turned terribly wrong when Bedwell slipped climbing a rope, falling 60 feet to the ground.

One friend kept her company while the other ran for help.

"One of the hikers showed us where she was located, we proceeded in with our material, got the patient packaged and moved back across the highline," says Lt. Jason Lockery.

Lt. Jason Lockery was one of the first on the scene, with more than seven years of rope rescue experience, he makes it sound easier than it is.

Bedwell was almost a mile into the woods.

"From the trail head it was about 3/4's of a mile down the bluff line. There were strenuous parts getting them back up to the plateau and creek bed is always the most challenging," says Lockery.

Lockery said with her injuries, walking out would have been nearly impossible without help from the rope rescue team.

Lockery also says because the area around the bluff lines is so dangerous, you can never be too careful.

"Know the terrain, be prepared, have sturdy footwear, carry plenty of water, a first aid kit and a cell phone. Also not to trust ropes or hand lines that other hikers have left in the woods," says Lockery.

At the end of the day Lockery says it's all about making a bad situation, like Bedwell's, a safer ending.

"There's always a feeling of accomplishment knowing you just helped someone, and hopefully improve their outcome," says Lockery.

Again, Bedwell who fell 60 feet Tuesday has already been released from Erlanger.

The rescue crews on Walden's Ridge, can't stress safety enough.

The fewer calls they get, the happier they are.






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