I had an interesting encounter Saturday (8/1/09) while camping near the Blue Ridge Parkway along Little Irish Creek road in the George Washington Nat.íl Forest, near Panther Falls in Amherst County. I was driving North up the parkway and pulled into the Bluff Mountain overlook, just north of the Bluff Mt. Tunnel, to check out the scenery when an elderly lady demanded my attention. Her 70 year old husband fell down the hillside. It took me some time to look down and locate him at first, but, seeing the brush and leaves turned up a bit, I was able to see him in his yellow shirt. The guy ended up about 90' nearly straight down rolling down until a rock boulder abruptly stopped his fall. I saw a puddle of blood under his head and feared the worst. He wasnít moving, appeared unconscious.
There was no cell signal. I had to wave down a southbound truck and I told the driver there is a campground about 5 miles south and for him to call 911 to inform EMS an elderly man fell down the side of the hill. Wearing sandals I carefully found a way down to him without myself rolling 90 feet down. Luckily the man started moving. I instructed him to hold still and that I was a deputy and am there to help. He was having difficulty breathing, lying on his right arm, which was under his belly. I spoke to him to keep him from shock. I checked him over applying pressure to his legs, ribs, hips checking for fractures. I had him breathe in deeply to check his rib cage or possible punctured lung. That went well. I had him slowly move his limbs, checking for pain. He didnít feel any pain while I was applying pressure, which told me he probably didnít have any major fractures. One of his fingers appeared bent outwards, probably broken. So that he could breathe easier, he rolled over to his side. I told him to take it slow and asked if his back was hurting or if he felt numbness anywhere. He didnít. His bleeding had stopped by the time I had arrived. To my amazement he then sat up I kept him talking to keep his mind off his trouble. He was a tough guy.
He was confused. I asked him questions. He replied the president was Jimmy Carter. He said the year was 1990. He was born in 1942, but, was a WWII veteran. Hmmmm. I thought he probably had a concussion.
Finally a park law enforcement officer stopped and I yelled up to her that I was a deputy and I found no major fractures, maybe a broken finger. His bleeding had stopped. He had a possible concussion. She radioed that info in. A while later, Amherst County EMS showed up with a stretcher basket to put him in. They lowered the basket with a rope. A female responder came down as the basket came down. There was still no way to get him up the hill so I mentioned that if the fire truck had a wench on it, we could possibly use that. It did have a wench, and they lowered a cable down. We helped the EMS lady, under her directions, strap and brace the guy in the basket, securing his neck and strapping him in. We then slowly guided the basket up the hillside as the wench pulled it up. From best I could tell, his fall resulted in a concussion, broken finger, multiple abrasions on his hands, and a bad cut on his head. Although soreness no doubt will be felt by him, he was one lucky guy.