Listen To This Article - Click Play
UPDATE: The three hikers that were found stranded in the Smoky Mountains on January 3 have now been successfully air lifted to safety by the North Carolina Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue team. No serious injuries were reported.
Breaking news from the Great Smoky Mountains. At 8:20 a.m. on January 3, park officials confirmed that they have located three missing hikers.
According to park officials, and a report published by the Knoxville News Sentinel, the hikers were caught in a sudden burst of winter weather late in the night of January 2. In the report, KNS sites that rangers with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park were first notified of the hikers’ distress when they received a phone call around 3:30 a.m.
(See Related: 5 Tips for Hiking the Smokies in Colder Weather)
The three hikers were roughly five miles away from the Fontana Dam, near Molly’s Ridge. All male, the hikers range in age from 21-32, and are all visiting the trails from South Carolina for what was planned to be a 10-day hike. The final destination for the hike is still unknown.
Though it is currently unclear the exact cause of the hikers’ distress, park officials have noted that the three men were unprepared for the reported 4-5 inches of snow they encountered on the Smoky Mountain hiking trail. The three men were reportedly wearing cotton clothing that is unfit for cold weather hiking in the Smokies.
Want to send your well-wishes to the rescued hikers? Let them know in the comments below!
For more information on the rescued hikers, or other news related to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, be sure to like us on Facebook of follow us on Twitter at @VisitMySmokies.