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Body of Tennessee hiker missing in subzero temperatures recovered below 700-foot bluff

Rescuers in Tennessee recovered the body of a missing hiker at Fall Creek Falls State Park after trekking through deep snow and subzero temperatures.

A missing hiker’s body was recovered below a 700-foot bluff at a Tennessee state park on Tuesday after rescuers braved subzero temperatures in their search, officials said.

First responders began looking for the missing hiker around 3 p.m. at Fall Creek Falls State Park and quickly found tracks in the snow leading into the woods, the Piney Volunteer Fire Department said.

The tracks led rescuers to a bluff line overlooking Cane Creek Gorge, but the steep terrain, deep snow and frigid conditions forced the team to leave the scene to get warm, officials said.

A Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter was requested to fly over the area and use thermal imaging to pinpoint the missing hiker’s location. After the chopper located the hiker, it took a crew of park rangers over an hour to hike to the spot.

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The crews found the hiker’s body down a 700-foot bluff, which required multiple rope systems to both descend and haul the body up the terrain.

The bitter cold dropped as low as minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit, which officials said hampered recovery efforts. Personnel were swapped out when possible to allow them to warm up.

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After the body was recovered, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that the individual had died. Authorities did not immediately release the identity of the hiker.

Following the recovery operation, one rescuer was treated at a local hospital for mild hypothermia.

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