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Woman helped off Pinch In trail, extraction took nearly 12 hours
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Woman helped off Pinch In trail, extraction took nearly 12 hours

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A woman had to be helped off Pinch In Trail in an extraction that lasted nearly 12 hours after she fell and suffered an ankle injury Saturday night.

The woman, her husband and her two dogs went into the trail and hiked about 2 miles from Pinch In Trailhead, even crossing the Linville River, before she fell and injured her ankle, said Fire Inspector Robert Bishop.

Terrain on that trail is steep, Bishop said. It took about 50 responders from multiple agencies in Burke and McDowell counties to help the woman out of the trail.

Burke County Emergency Management got the call at 7:24 p.m. Saturday. All units cleared the scene at 7 a.m. Sunday, Bishop said.

He said the extraction took so long because rescuers had to switch out responders on the way out to avoid exhaustion.

The couple, in their mid-20s, both refused treatment by EMS once they were out of the trail, Bishop said.

For those considering going hiking, Bishop advised they should be aware of the trails they plan to take, let someone close to them know which trails they are taking and when they plan to be back and not deviate from the plan.

They also should make sure to have more food and water than they expect to need, Bishop said.

The county’s state of emergency actually requires anyone taking part in high-risk outdoor activities, including those at Pisgah National Forest or the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, to use extreme caution to reduce the strain on emergency medical services personnel and medical facilities.

The order also requires people to bring more food and water than they think they will need when walking, hiking or backpacking, and to be prepared to stay longer if there’s an emergency.

Bishop said hikers also should keep in mind the air quality when they are going hiking.

Saturday’s air quality was a code orange, Bishop said, which means the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups. That was while the state was seeing the impacts of the Saharan dust cloud that passed over North Carolina.

Visit to check the air quality in your area.

Burke County Emergency Management, Burke County Rescue Squad, Burke County EMS, Burke County Special Ops, McDowell County Rescue Squad, Nebo Fire Department, Hankins North Fork Volunteer Fire Department and Marion Fire Department all responded to the call.

Chrissy Murphy is a staff writer and can be reached at or at 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.

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