Raleigh firefighters rescue lost hikers

Posted November 20, 2008 12:32 p.m. EST

— Two Raleigh firefighters who were training in the North Carolina mountains helped locate two lost hikers Tuesday.

Burke County authorities were alerted at about 8:30 p.m. Monday that two hikers were lost in Linville Gorge. The county's search and rescue team and other local fire departments searched through the night in the rugged, snow-covered terrain as temperatures dipped into the low 20s with gusty winds.

The following morning, members of North Carolina Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 8, which was taking part in helicopter-based rescue training in the area, were called in to assist in the search. Task Force 8 includes members from the Raleigh Fire Department, Wake County Emergency Medical Services, the Durham Fire Department and the Chapel Hill Fire Department.

Raleigh Fire Capt. Mike Hayes and Senior Firefighter Jason Ceisner and two members of Burke County Search and Rescue found the hikers at about 10:30 a.m. near the Upper Falls area. Two other Raleigh firefighters, Lt. Joe Massey and Senior Firefighter Stephen Holloman, and Patrick Collins of Wake County EMS provided assistance to the hikers while awaiting transportation to a nearby hospital.

"After the rescue, we went right back to training," Hayes said.