UPDATE: Missing Signal Mountain hiker found safe
A hiker missing since Sunday night near Rainbow Lake Trail on Signal Mountain has been found.
UPDATE: A hiker is now back home with his family after he went missing last night on Rainbow Lake Trail.
Channel 3 was the only crew on scene as the rescue efforts were underway.
Signal Mountain’s Fire Chief, Eric Mitchell said it was a Sunday hike one man won't forget.
"He just got disoriented because of the darkness and couldn't find his way out of the woods,” Mitchell said.
Firefighters said a man went on a hike on the trail around 5 p.m. Sunday afternoon and never made it home.
As the sun went down, family members grew concerned and notified authorities.
A search began after midnight, but the rough terrain and unpaved trails made the search challenging.
"You know fall hazards are even greater at night, you're down there with flashlights it makes it that much more dangerous when you're trying to find somebody,” he explained.
Before the hiker's cell phone died, he was able to take a screen shot of his location. He sent it to a friend in hopes that someone could find him in the woods.
Mitchell said search crews made "voice contact" with the man and eventually found him a few hours later. Rescuers say the hiker found a tarp and stayed under it for warmth, it was a decision that helped locate him.
"It’s a lot easier for us if we an pinpoint your location and not move so he stayed in one spot so we were able to locate him so a good positive outcome,” Mitchell said.
It was the emotional moment when the missing man was brought out of the woods about 12 hours later.
As more people get out doors Chief Mitchell wants to remind everyone of the phrase "HIKE:"
- H - Have a plan.
- I - Inform someone.
- K - Keep a flashlight and whistle.
- E- Eat well plus stay hydrated.
"Keep track of time you know this time of year, you know we've already had the time change so it's going to get darker around 7 in the evening so make sure you're off the trail before dark,” Mitchell said.
Officials said the hiker has a small injury on his knee. He was checked out by ems and is expected to be okay.
This isn't the first time emergency responders rescued someone from the Rainbow Lake area. Two years ago an 18-year-old was hiking when he slipped and fell off the trail. The fire chief tells us most incidents there are a result of hikers going off the marked trail. Park officials have since re-marked the path with mile markers and signage.
PREVIOUS STORY: Signal Mountain officials spent the early morning hours Monday searching for a man who went missing while hiking Sunday evening.
Just after midnight Signal Mountain Police were called to the Rainbow Lake Trail area and began searching in the wooded area near the golf course.
According to the Signal Mountain Fire Department, voice contact was made with the hiker just before 5:00 a.m. but they did not know the man's exact location.
Crews continued to search the area and located the hiker minutes later, off the trail and uninjured.