by: Ashley Swann Updated:
CARROLL COUNTY, Ga. - The dramatic helicopter rescue of a hiker in Dawson County Friday brought back a flood of memories for a local family.
Gerry Davis, of Carrollton, survived a similar ordeal in 2007 when he fell 75 feet while hiking near Helen. He shared his story with Channel 2’s Ashley Swann.
Davis and his wife, Karen, said they couldn’t believe their eyes as they watched the dramatic rescue of the hiker unfold live as breaking news on Channel 2 Action News at 5.
“I was feeling for that person. I knew what they felt. I know where they were,” said Davis.
It was in February of 2007 that Davis lived through a similar ordeal when he slipped and fell over a waterfall while enjoying a Friday afternoon hike with his wife.
“It’s just like slick grease that I stepped on, and I was down just like that,” Gerry said.
He fell about 75 feet. His wife and the family dog had to slide down the side of the waterfall to get to him.
“When I got down there, I did think he was probably dead,” she remembered.
Davis was alive, but he suffered serious injuries, including a broken tailbone, three hematomas, three cracked vertebrae and a serious leg injury. His wife was able to get help, and a team of responders put him in a basket just like the one from Friday’s rescue.
Luckily for Davis, rescuers were able to hike him to a waiting helicopter, where he was flown in the cockpit to South Carolina for treatment. The victim in Friday’s rescue was carried in a basket hanging from the helicopter at speeds around 40 mph.
“I certainly didn’t think I had missed anything from watching that basket swing,” Davis said.
Davis said he feels for the rescued hiker, as he knows all too well how he must have felt.
“You feel guilty that all these people are doing all this stuff because of your stupidity, carelessness,” he said.
Davis also said few can understand the pain the rescued hiker is now feeling from the fall.
“You do not want to move anything at all because to move anything hurts, and I don't mean just a little pain, excruciating pain,” Davis said.
He and his wife said they are anxious to hear how the hiker is doing now, and are praying for him and his family.
“This guy's got a road ahead of him, no doubt, but you get better, and he's alive," Davis said.