A hiker injured in the Linville Gorge was rescued by helicopter Saturday afternoon, Burke County authorities said.
The hiker fell along the Babel Tower trail around 12:30 p.m., according to Burke County Emergency Services. She suffered a head and leg injury.
The Babel Tower trail, described as a popular but strenuous hike, is located about 110 miles northwest of Charlotte in the Pisgah National Forest.
Paramedics were able to reach the hiker, but authorities said hiking out of the Linville Gorge on foot with the injured woman could have taken rescuers up to eight hours.
Instead, paramedics waited for the arrival of the N.C. Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team.
NCHART is a specialized team of N.C. National Guard members and other state and local emergency services personnel who perform rescue operations for people trapped in floods or in the wilderness.
Around 4 p.m., the National Guard tweeted that rescuers were on their way in a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter.
Once she was airlifted from the trail, the hiker was transported to an area hospital, authorities said.
Among the NCHART rescuers were three Charlotte firefighters, including one who left the scene of an east Charlotte fire Saturday afternoon to join fellow rescuers and National Guardsmen for the mission to the Linville Gorge, officials said.
On any given day, we have a roster of firefighters that can be deployed in a matter of moments for a mission like this, said Charlotte Fire Capt. Rob Brisley.