UPDATE: Family of hikers lost for more than a day in Cohutta Wilderness
Channel 3's cameras were rolling as four adults and three children were rescued after being lost in the Cohutta Wilderness for more than 24 hours.
UPDATE: A family of seven hikers that got lost in the Cohutta Wilderness on Sunday afternoon is out of the woods.
Channel 3's cameras were rolling as the four adults and three children were rescued. The children were ages 4-11.
A Georgia Department of Natural Resources helicopter found the family on the Rice Camp Trail located off of Old Highway 2.
Everyone had several cuts and bruises from the hike and were exhausted after they were escorted off of the trail.
The family did not want to talk on camera, but they told Channel 3 they were trying to hike the trail from a new starting point; the problem was they weren't familiar with it.
"From what I understand they were under the assumption that the trail coming down the river was just that; a trail beside the river and that was not the case," said Murray County GA Fire Chief and EMA Director, Dewayne Bain.
The group hiked about 12 miles down the trail before they got lost. Bain says a family member called 911 when the group didn't return Sunday night, but Bain says having no cell signal was a challenge in finding them.
"You can’t ping where their phone is or anything like that, so we’re just having to go on their last known location and hope for the best," said Bain.
The trail itself was another challenge.
"The trails up here have a lot of wind damage over the years and here in the wilderness area they don’t do a lot of rehab on those trails," said Bain.
More than 24 hours later, rescue crews were able to reach them. Bain says he was relieved to see no one was seriously hurt.
"This particular river trail has like 27 river crossings. So that cold weather and young children not being prepared...yeah," said Bain. "I mean it was down to 30-34° so I figured we would have some hypothermia but evidently not. I understand they built a campfire and did well through the night."
Bain says this isn't the first time his crew has responded to a rescue on the Rice Camp Trail. It's why he's urging everyone to research any trail before hiking and always be prepared.
PREVIOUS UPDATE: The family of hikers who were lost Sunday in the Cohutta Wilderness area have been located.
A Georgia Department of Natural Resources helicopter located the family of four adults and three children in the Rice Camp area.
According to the West Polk County Volunteer Fire Department, rescue personnel is en route to pick them up.
A spokesperson for the department said the area where the hikers are is remote and has few roads.
Crews are on foot working to reach the family.
PREVIOUS STORY: Rescue teams are searching for seven people believed to be missed near Jacks River Falls in western Polk, Murray and Fannin Counties.
The four adults and three children area being searched for both above and below the falls, which is in a remote section of Cohutta Wilderness known as Big Frog.
Tri-State Mutual Aid has crews standing by for a ground search, and West Polk has drones ready to deploy in the effort.