UPDATE: "Lost" hikers just wanted ride to car - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: "Lost" hikers just wanted ride to car

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UPDATE:  Polk County dispatch was called around 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning with a hiker claiming he and another individual had been stuck in the pocket wilderness for two days.

The hiker told dispatch the other individual was five miles into the wilderness with a hurt leg and needed assistance.

However upon arrival, Polk and Murray County first responders say they found no emergency, but rather both hikers without injury at the trail head wanting a ride to their car.

"We have this happen occasionally. People get in, they get frightened, they panic."  says Polk County Emergency Management Agency Director Steven Lofty.

Lofty says the wilderness isn't a place to go into unprepared without a map or necessities and 911 isn't the number to dial when you don't have an emergency.

"I have probably 15 people up in the mountain right now and we're receiving another call.  An emergency that's going on as we speak right now in the county that the resources could be responding to."

"You're talking about a quarter of a million dollars worth of assets tied up and sent back into a near wilderness area."

"It's not a problem calling 911.  Don't panic the dispatch in Polk County is most likely looking at where you're standing and are highly trained with equipment to help guide you out on your own."

But if you do call and make a false claim, Lofty says you will pay for it.

"The equipment, 15 to 100 personnel and fuel costs.  It can run into several thousand dollars."
"Somebody is going to have to pay for those expenses. It's not fair for the tax payers to have to pay for someone who has panicked or decided they needed a taxi ride back to their vehicle."

Lofty says to just be smart and think before you dial.

"Don't get frightened and need a ride back to your vehicle and call 911.  That's not what we're here for.  We're here to save lives and to protect the property of people here in the county and those visiting."

Lofty says the hikers won't be charged in Polk County because they were found on the Georgia line.  No word yet if Murray County plans to press charges.
The search for a missing couple in Polk County is now over.  The couple was found at the trail head on the Georgia side.  No one was injured. The couple wanted a lift back to their car.  No word yet on if charges may be brought against the couple from Georgia or Forestry officials.

Emergency and rescue crews in Polk County are searching for a couple in a portion of the pocket wilderness.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office confirms the couple called Saturday morning to say they have been lost for two days and need help.

Sources tell Channel 3 the woman has an injured leg, they called for help after they were able to regain cell service.

Count on Channel 3 to keep you updated on this developing story.
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