The missing hikers were familiar with the general area, family members said, but there was some concern about possible snake bites as the search for the missing hikers went on through the day on Sunday...before both were found safe but tired about 6pm Sunday, some 24 hours after the massive search began in some of the most rugged gamelands terrain in the area.
Jonathan Heatherly, 32, and Janice Collins, 56, were found by rescuers at about 6 p.m., Henderson Sheriff’s Office Capt. Lowell Griffin said. The two had wandered far off a trail, but searchers heard them calling for help and were able to find them.
“They are uninjured and in good health,” Griffin said. “They are just very tired and very hungry. The persistence and dedication of the rescuers paid off.”
Heatherly and Collins, who are both from the Dana area, left for a hike off Deep Gap Road in eastern Henderson County on Saturday afternoon. They were familiar with the area but weren’t equipped to be out overnight, Griffin said. “They weren’t really prepared,” he said. “They each had a bottle of water.”Searchers on Sunday said members of every fire and rescue department in Henderson County were involved in the search.
Joining the search were dog teams from both Carolinas along with an N.C. Highway Patrol helicopter and officers from the Henderson Sheriff’s Office, Hendersonville Police Department and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Searchers set up a command post at the juncture of Deep Gap Road and Laurel Mountain
Authorities were alerted to the situation late Saturday night when