May 26th, 2020
Little River Canyon National Preserve Press Release-
On the afternoon of Monday, May 25, 2020, Kenzie Wetzel, a 21-year-old female from Douglasville, GA, was walking along the area above Little River Falls where she slipped on a rock, became caught up in the current, and was washed over the edge to the pool of water 35’ below. Wetzel was able to make her way to the rocks in the middle of the pool and await help. First responders were immediately dispatched and on-scene within minutes and a search and rescue operation was initiated.
National Park Service rangers, Fischer Rescue Squad, Fort Payne Fire Department, Dogtown Volunteer Fire Department, DeKalb Ambulance Service (DAS), Cherokee County Sheriff Office, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) State Troopers and ALEA Aviation, and Air Evac Lifeteam all responded to the scene for the rescue.
First responders were able to get to Wetzel’s location, access her injuries, and determine the best course of action to extract Wetzel from the canyon. An ALEA helicopter was dispatched to extract Wetzel and deliver her to the Little River Falls parking lot where DAS accessed her injuries and she was delivered to an area hospital by the Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter.
Little River Canyon National Preserve’s Facebook also had this to say:
“Both the trail to the top of Little River Falls and the trail to Little Falls (aka: “Martha’s Falls” and “Hippie Hole”) have warning signs for a reason. They are there for YOUR safety to inform you of the risks associated with a wild river flowing at any rate. It’s up to YOU, the visitor, to stop, read the signs, and understand that YOU’RE the one not just risking your own safety and life, but those of the dozens of first responders who come to the emergency call. YOUR safety is YOUR first priority!”