KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Knoxville man is in serious condition after he fell 150 yards down a cliff early Thursday morning.
Rescue crews from the Knoxville Fire Department were called out to the area near Cherokee Trail in South Knoxville just after 4 a.m. They found the man unconscious near the base of the cliff about an hour later.
Captain D.J. Corcoran with the Knoxville Fire Department says two men started hiking through the area after they left work late Wednesday night. The man crews rescued had recently moved from out of state. His friend wanted to show him around the area.
But as they hiked, one of the men realized his friend was no longer behind him and called 911.
"He wasn't sure exactly where he was, but he knew that he had fallen," Corcoran says.
Crews scoured the area, shining spotlights from above and below the ridge. They thought the man was hung up in the trees. After an hour they spotted him unconscious, near the river.
Rescuers put him on a boat and rushed him across the river to UT Medical Center.
"He was beat up pretty bad," Corcoran says. "As you can imagine falling from that distance, hitting trees, limbs, basically somersaulting, falling, sliding, anything that you can imagine."
The two men were in an uncharted area off Cherokee Trail. An area Corcoran says has been the scene of many rescues.
"There's not a pull-off area where there's parking spaces and rails around dangerous areas. It's wild and natural," he says.
Caroline Haynes, manager at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, says unmarked areas like this one are the most dangerous.
"You wanna stay on the trail. You wanna hike in areas where it's well traveled," she says.
Experienced hikers who want to explore new areas should always pay close attention to their surroundings, she says. Especially in areas like this one, with steep cliffs and rocky drop-offs.
Local 8 News spoke with a few of the man's co-workers. They say they're still coping with the news, and their prayers are with him and his family.
The call came in at 4:20 when the man's friend reached out to 911 for help.
The search took less than an hour.
The man was transported to U.T. Medical Center. His condition is unknown at this time.