Helicopter crew talks about daring hiker rescue

by: Dave Huddleston Updated:

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DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. - A hiker is lucky to be alive after falling 25 feet from Cochoran Falls in Dawson County.

Channel 2 Action News has learned Justin Castleberry was hiking with his girlfriend when he fell.

They were in a remote area and she had to run a mile to find help and call 911.

That daring rescue mission was seen live on Channel 2 Action News at 5 on Friday.

"It puts a real spike in your job satisfaction when you can help someone like that," said Department of Natural Resources crew chief Larry Rogers.

Rogers said having the state DNR helicopter shaved hours off the rescue.

"He was looking at another three, four, five hours before they could get him out and load him into an ambulance," Rogers said.

They had it down in about 10 minutes.

Pilot Steven Turner said they went through intense rescue training two weeks ago.

"We were very current, very proficient. The ground teams were very proficient also with the techniques that we used," Turner said.

Those techniques likely saved Castleberry's life.

Castleberry fell and broke two vertebrate. Some bone fragments shattered and lodged in the area.

He had surgery on Saturday and is now out of ICU at Grady Memorial Hospital. Doctors said he may later be transferred to the Shepherd Center for rehab.



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