Hamilton Co. first responders brave heat in back-to-back rescues - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hamilton Co. first responders brave heat in back-to-back rescues

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Hamilton County first responders were busy working back-to-back hiker rescues in Wednesday afternoon's heat.

As soon as one rescue ended in the Pocket Wilderness, crews were called to another on Signal Mountain.

The severe heat and humidity was a concern for stranded hikers, but also for first responders who were trying to stay safe during the rescues.

An ambulance drove away from the Pocket Wilderness Wednesday evening, carrying a 65-year-old hiker who became dehydrated in the afternoon heat.

Joseph Tidwell of Soddy Daisy was on a trail with his dog, Hannah. About three miles into the trail, the German Shepherd started getting overheated.

"He used all the water for the dog, and had none for himself," said Amy Maxwell, Hamilton Co. Emergency Services PIO. 

While the pair searched for a stream to cool off, the dog fell off a 40 ft. cliff.

That's when Tidwell called 911. He needed help, too.

"He was also dehydrated, to where he was not able to help with the dog," Maxwell said.

Rescue crews hiked an hour and a half before finding the man and his severely injured dog.

A veterinarian told them the animal's injuries were so severe that she needed to be put down.

According to Maxwell, the owner agreed.

While being re-hydrated on the trail, Tidwell gave his companion a heartbreaking good-bye.

READ MORE | Hiker rescued from Pocket Wilderness after suffering from dehydration

"Once (rescue crews) determined there was no way to help the dog," said Maxwell, "they decided to have the owner come down with the dog, and give his final goodbyes before the dog was put down."

While rescue workers packed up at the Pocket Wilderness, they were called to another rescue at Falling Water Falls on Signal Mountain.

Noah Haney, 19, was stuck on the trail. After jumping into a blue hole, he dislocated his shoulder.

"I threw it out pretty hard, and I couldn't get it back in," Haney told Channel 3.

The trail's rough terrain requires hikers to climb over rocks, which Haney couldn't do.

A rope team was on standby while crews made their way in.

READ MORE | Injured teen says "thank you" to EMS crew that saved him

"He put my arm in a sling, and then he just kind of maneuvered me around to where I could walk out," said Haney, who is thankful for the rescue workers and volunteers who helped him out.

"If it had been super serious," he said, "I don't know what we would have done."

The hikers did not sustain serious injuries.

Mutual aid was requested during both rescues.

Hamilton County Emergency Services thanks all agencies and volunteers that responded.

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