Edmund, SC (Paul Kirby) For the second time in two days, firefighters had to rescue disoriented hikers from the large Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve in Edmund. On Friday afternoon, several were located after a short search and led out safely. Neither was injured, although they were checked by EMS.
Then again late Saturday night, several others once again became disoriented and firefighters were dispatched from three county fire stations to find and lead then to safety. An EMS unit also stood-by during the second operation for the safety of the hikers and those involved in the search
The ones that were lost Saturday were hiking on the trails well after dark. The call came in after the sun had set and the on-duty crew at the county’s Sharpe’s Hill fire station was the first to respond. They were eventually assisted by the crew from Edmund and several firefighters from South Congaree. All were under the command of the battalion chief for the south region.
Each time, cell phones played a significant role in helping to locate the lost hikers. In both cases this week, the lost people were able to call for help and summon the firefighters. Earlier in the week, an individual was also lost in a wooded area near Cayce well before daylight. County telecommunication operators were able to use triangulation of his cell signal to help the rescue crews locate him and lead him to safety.
Although Peachtree Rock is close to a major SC State Highway (SC 6), it can be very easy to become disoriented on the large tract of land, especially if hikers leave the marked trails. The property drops off in elevation sharply at points, and the valley can block the sounds of vehicles passing that would allow people on foot from hearing the sounds of the passing traffic and walking toward it.
Several times a year, firefighters are called to locate lost people on the heritage preserve which includes more than 450 acres of land. What makes the last cases unusual, is the fact that they both happened in consecutive days.