BY KEN LITTLE
Tuesday's frigid temperatures did not deter the Greeneville Emergency & Rescue Squad and other first responders from rescuing an injured woman in a wooded area off Welcome Grove Road in Mosheim.
Greene County-Greeneville Emergency Medical Services and members of the Mosheim Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the scene about 3 p.m. Tuesday.
The woman, whose name was not available, was flown by Wings Air Rescue from a pasture on Sherry Arnold's horse farm property to Johnson City Medical Center. Her condition was not available today.
The woman told rescuers that she was searching for her dog in the woods when she fell down an embankment, landed in a dry creek bed and could not move.
Bucky Ayers, of the Rescue Squad, said the woman told EMS personnel that she had fallen earlier in the day and hurt her back, and when she fell for a second time in the woods, she lost all feeling in her lower legs and feet.
"She had to be immobilized and carried out (by EMS)," Ayers said.
The woman, estimated to be in her 30s, lives nearby, Ayers said.
It's unclear how authorities were contacted to rescue the woman, but Ayers said a man was with the woman when she was found and may have gone looking for her and used a cell phone to call for help.
EMS and Rescue Squad personnel were able to drive across terrain about three-quarters of a mile off Welcome Grove Road to a spot near where the woman was found.
The helicopter that took her to the hospital landed in a nearby pasture on Arnold's property, in the 100 block of Welcome Grove Road.
"The helicopter flew over and saw emergency vehicles and that's where they landed," Ayers said.
The woman went looking for the dog about 12:30 p.m. and was found about 3 p.m. The temperature on Tuesday afternoon dipped to around 0 degrees.
"She probably had hypothermia. She had been lying out there for some time," Ayers said.
The woman was able to communicate with EMS personnel who arrived on the scene, he said.
The bone-chilling weather made the rescue challenging for all the volunteers involved, Ayers said.
"Everybody was trying to dress properly," he said. "It was a tough day."
Rescue Squad members are familiar with the terrain on Arnold's farm. In November, with the assistance of Mosheim volunteer firefighters, they helped rescue one of Arnold's horses that had fallen into nearby Lick Creek.
"The Rescue Squad came and pulled it out. It was wonderful," she said.
Arnold agreed that weather conditions were severe on Tuesday. It was so cold that it took several trips to her barn to water her 36 horses.
"I had to go in the house and warm my hands," said Arnold, who was given little information about the incident Tuesday on her 82-acre property.
Arnold was concerned that someone might have fallen into Lick Creek, a mishap that could have proven fatal given the record low temperatures throughout the day.
"We have over 2,000 feet of frontage on Lick Creek," she said. "It's fenced and cross-fenced, and gates are kept closed. It's posted, and you just wonder who is on your property. It's always a worry."
Mosheim volunteer firefighters were called to the scene to help set up a landing zone, fire Chief Harold Williamson said Wednesday.
"I do know she fell down a bank and Wings 2 flew her out, and I heard she is doing well in the hospital," Williamson said.
"They had to carry her out on a backboard over several fences to get her out."