Cochran Falls

A young woman fell and died along a hiking trail in Dawson County on Friday, Sept. 11. Authorities say the young woman was trying to seek help for her injured boyfriend when she fell and died along a hiking trail at Cochran Creek Falls.

Dawson County Fire Chief Danny Thompson held a news conference late Friday night and said his firefighters were first alerted to an injured man along the trail around 4:25 p.m. Firefighters were able to locate him around 5:55 p.m. along a trail towards the top of the falls. One search group assisted the male hiker and a second went in search of the female hiker after he told officials his girlfriend had gone off to seek help and had not been seen since. Firefighters located the young woman around 7:13 p.m. at the bottom of the falls area. 

The man was rushed to Northeast Georgia Medical Center with head, neck, and back injuries. Thompson could not release the names of the hikers but did say both were in their early 20s. 

“The falls obviously go up into the mountains. The elevation is almost 2,000 feet. And she was located down in the bottom area, the Cochran creek area--what we call the Cochran Creek Falls," Thompson said. 

Trails are unforgiving. Since hikers can get lost or become disoriented, they should have a plan. Hikers are encouraged to let people know where they plan to hike, have a map or a hiking app on their phone, have extra batteries for their phone, have extra water and food in case they get stuck, and make sure people know when you plan to return, Thompson said. The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office has now taken over the investigation. 

Second hiker missing days earlier

Earlier that week several North Georgia first responders engaged in another search and rescue operation. The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office said a man went for a walk on the Hike Inn Trail near Amicalola Lodge on September 9 but became lost about a mile from the main road. He then ran out of water and his cell phone died. 

Teams from the sheriff’s office, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services and the Georgia Department of Public Safety searched into the night for the missing man but were unable to locate him. 

Authorities were able to determine the last location his cell phone “pinged” and upon arrival of that area, they found several items belonging to that of the hiker. Hall County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit assisted in the search, with K-9 Handler SSgt. Prickett, K-9 Bella and Lt. Pearson. K-9 Officer Bella led authorities to the missing man, about 200-300 yards off the main trail. The man was found alive and well. 

“This truly remarkable teamwork led to the most positive outcome possible,” the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook. The sheriff’s office thanked Bella and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office for their help in the search. 

“We’d like to recognize the incredible work of Deputy Gearin who spotted the items well off the trail and the prompt assistance of the Hall County K9 Team, which possibly saved this man’s life. We’d also like to thank every agency and individual who came out and helped make this search and rescue a huge success,” the post reads.