Five people witnessed the man fall from a ledge halfway up the 80-foot falls, reporting that he was conscious when he landed at the bottom. Haywood County Search and Rescue responded but had some difficulty reaching the site due to the vertical rockfaces going into the gorge, said U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Cathy Dowd.
Eventually over the course of the hours-long rescue, four teams from Haywood, Transylvania and Henderson counties were involved in the effort. The man was ultimately rescued using high-angle rescue techniques and the help of the Mountain Area Medical Airlift.
The Forest Service has no information on his medical condition, Dowd said, but he was taken to Mission Hospital in Asheville and did survive the fall. No official Forest Service trail leads to the place where the fall occurred.