GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) – Officials with the Great Smoky Mountains Park have found a missing hiker Kevin Lynch who was in the woods for four nights in the backcountry of the park.
Lynch, 58, of Woodbridge, New Jersey, was found alert and responsive just before 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday by searchers near the Cataloochee Divide Trail on the North Carolina side of the park.
Earlier on Wednesday, grid search team members found Lynch’s hat and pair of sunglasses almost 1,600 ft. southeast of the Cataloochee Divide Trail. Shortly after, another search team found footprints leading toward a nearby cabin.
At this point the entire search effort was concentrated in the areas adjacent to where these clues were discovered.
A few hours later, Lynch was found after responding to searchers yells; he was only .75 miles from the point where he was last seen.
He was transported to Haywood Regional Medical Center in Clyde, N.C., for assessment where he will be reunited with his family.
Park Chief Ranger Lisa Hendy saying, “From the moment we learned of Lynch’s disappearance, Haywood County Emergency Management and National Park Service staff worked quickly to take an aggressive and proactive approach with search tactics due to the dire circumstances surrounding Lynch’s health condition.”
Hendy also said they cannot thank all of the agencies who joined this effort enough for their dedicated commitment to bringing Mr. Lynch home safely to his family.
Lynch had been last seen at the Swag Resort along the boundary of the park just before 3 p.m. on Saturday.