A father and son from Maryland have become the latest tourists to learn the dangers of North Carolina’s breathtaking waterfalls.
The three-hour rescue happened around 2 p.m. Thursday at Linville Falls, after the pair climbed onto a ledge next to impassable waters and became stranded, media outlets have reported. Emergency workers described the spot as “unstable.”
Media outlets report the two, who have not been identified, were involved in swimming lessons at the time and emerged from the waters at one of the most dangerous spots along the river: Between the upper falls and the turbulent waters that cut through stone to form the two lower falls. The spot culminates in a 45-foot drop into the waterfall’s plunge basin, reported the Watauga Democrat.
The father, who was said to be in his 50s, and his 16-year-old son had passed National Park signs warning people not to go any farther, the Hickory Daily Record reported. It was unclear if they had seen the signs.
Rescuers used rigging rope to retrieve the two and both escaped with only scratches, the Daily Record reported.
The U.S. Forest Service issued the two a citation, reported the McDowell News.
At least 40 people have died at waterfalls in the national forests of Western North Carolina since 1993, the U.S. Forest Service says. Among the most recent, a man fell 70 feet to his death from a waterfall in Pisgah National Forest in June.