Roanoke County Fire and Rescue shares insight on rescue for hiker who fell off McAfee Knob

30 crew members spent four hours rescuing hiker in critical condition


ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – Of all the emergencies this year, spokesperson Brian Clingenpeel, of the Roanoke County Fire and Rescue, said getting a man who fell 100 feet off the top of McAfee Knob  was one of the department's most difficult rescues, with 30 crew members called to the scene.

"Career and volunteer staff both participated in this rescue,” Clingenpeel said.

Due to the steep terrain where the hiker fell, it took crews four hours to get him down the mountain.

“That's 120 man hours just for this rescue,” Clingenpeel said.

The hiker was then flown by helicopter to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital in critical condition.

Clingenpeel said because so many calls are related to accidents in mountainous areas, fire crews have added a new step to their training.

“At the end of recruit school, the chief takes recruits on a hike,” Clingenpeel said.

If you're going to go hiking, Clingenpeel said you should know what you're getting into such as the length of the trail.

“Try to estimate how long the hike will take. Then double that because you want to get back before dark,” Clingenpeel said.

Sarah who's hiking up McAffee Knob for the first time, is watching her step.

“Hiking can be safe as long as you are not going off the trails and not going onto steep cliffs,” Sarah said.

While the Fire and Rescue crew continues to be ready for any emergency, they hope those hiking will also be responsible.