DANBURY, N.C. -- A 19-year-old man is in the hospital after falling from Hanging Rock.
The 19-year-old has been identified as Wyatt Bloom, of Gold Hill. Investigators say that Bloom was hiking at Hanging Rock State Park around 4 p.m. Sunday when the incident happened.
Friends told park rangers that Bloom had been "playing near the edge" of a cliff, without proper footwear, when he fell. They say before he fell he was trying to climb up one of the rock faces of Hanging Rock. Bloom was not on the hiking trail at the time of the fall.
The initial call came in saying that Bloom had fallen about 50 feet, yet investigators later determined that the fall was closer to 30 feet. However, firefighters with the Danbury Volunteer Fire Department say they have seen people suffer major injuries after falls as small as 10 feet.
"When you get to the patient, you're tired. But you have a job to do," said Luke Fulp, a volunteer with the Danbury Volunteer Fire Department. Fulp and about 14 other firefighters from the department were sent to the scene, as well as park rangers, paramedics and responders from the Sauratown Volunteer Fire Department.
"It's basically straight up and the patient was halfway up the mountain," said Fulp.
Witnesses described Bloom as falling into a "half somersault formation", facing stomach-up, before rolling over and spreading out on the ground. When park rangers arrived, they found him face-down, with his elbows extended outward -- his hands under his face -- with outstretched legs and his ankles and feet elevated on a nearby rock.
Bloom was loaded onto a stokes basket and strapped down. However, the teams now needed to navigate the dangerous terrain to get Bloom off the mountain and to an AirCare helicopter which had been called in.
"It's basically rock steps and you're trying to go around the rocks and get him safely down and not cause no more harm," said Fulp.
"You got the rocks and the steps and the trees that you have to work over," said Lynn Cook, safety officer with the Danbury Volunteer Fire Department. "You got four, five, six on the basket, and they go 15, 20 feet down the mountain; then you got four, five, six that'll take over."
By 5 p.m., the crews had managed to get Bloom off of the mountain and to the helicopter. He was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
"The relief still [is not] there, until I hear back from somebody that he's doing OK in the hospital," said Cook.
Park rangers say this is the first time in two years that someone had to be airlifted from Hanging Rock State Park.