UPDATE: Student group spends night lost in Pocket Wilderness - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Student group spends night lost in Pocket Wilderness

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UPDATE: It all started when a UTC student called 911, to report the group was lost on the Cumberland Trail located at the Pocket Wilderness area, near Soddy Daisy.  

The 7 students called 911 for help around 9 o'clock Tuesday night. Officials say they were lucky to have cell phone service. 

"They did the correct thing which was to call 911 and then of course dispatchers and rescue personnel told them just to stay put right where they were and to describe exactly where they were," said Amy Maxwell, Spokesperson for Hamilton County Emergency Services. 

Maxwell says the 7 students were not familiar with the area. They wanted to enjoy nature but got lost when it was time to go home.

"We're seeing a significant increase of people getting lost or have fallen, not only in Pocket Wilderness but on Signal Mountain," said Maxwell. 

It took rescue crews about 6 hours to find them, due to the trail being washed out in 3 separate locations. The students were found 2 or 3 miles from the trail in rough terrain. Rescuers had to use a rope system to get around mudslides. One of the students suffered an ankle injury, while another had a hurt knee. Maxwell says those injuries are common out there. 

"I mean you have to be in shape because these terrains are so rough, so uneven, so high, so steep that it really does require not only being fit but also the appropriate attire," said Maxwell. 

Regular hikers tell Channel 3, they stick to the trail. 

"It's very rocky and narrow up there, we brought our 2 large dogs last time we came and really there's only room for one person," said hiker Stephanie Fallon.

Fallon and many others say they like to visit the river but Amy Maxwell says this too can create a challenge if you're not paying attention. 
 
"We have had issues in the past where they have made it across and then by the time they are back from hiking the water has risen tremendously and they can't make it across," said Maxwell. "We want people to venture out. We just want people to be safe and have fun."

The two injured students are said to be okay. 


A lost UTC student on the Cumberland Trail in the Pocket Wilderness called 911, reporting the were lost about 9:15pm Tuesday night.

Rescue personnel from Tennessee State Parks, Mowbray Volunteer Fire Department and Sequoyah Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene. 

The rescue teams were able to stay in contact with the lost group of seven students via cell phone. 

The group entered the trails about 6:00pm to explore the scenery for a few hours. Their lack of familiarity with the area left them lost, unable to find their way back to the trailhead.

The students were able to describe their location to rescue personnel, who advised the group to remain at the “Rock House” at Cable Crossing. 

Rescue personnel were able to make their way to the group after six hours, slowed by washed out trails in three separate locations.

A rope system was used to make their way around the mudslides. 

The group of students and rescuers emerged from the woods about 3:00am, when they notified dispatchers.

Two injuries were reported among the student group; one had an ankle injury and the other a knee injury. 

The injured students were treated by Hamilton County EMS. 

Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue assisted at the scene for rescue personnel throughout the night.

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