From Roanoke County Fire & Rescue: Crews were dispatched at about 6:45 last evening for a technical rescue call at the Roanoke River Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Two women and a dog were hiking when the dog started climbing down the rocks at the Roanoke River Overlook. One of the women went to get dog and both the woman and dog slid down the steep, rocky mountainside about 15 feet to a narrow ledge. The second woman called 9-1-1 for help. Career and volunteer crews from Vinton station, along with the County’s Heavy Technical Rescue Team arrived on scene and soon called upon the Roanoke Fire-EMS Swift Water Rescue Team to deploy to the Roanoke River below the ledge as an additional safety measure. The patient and dog were not injured, so a rope operation rescue was established with swift water rescue operations established in the river in case the ledge broke or subjects fell in river for any reason. The woman was assisted into a safety harness attached to a rope and helped up the mountain. The medium-size dog was carried up the mountain by a rescue team member. The patient and dog were both “topside” by 8:17 p.m. and checked out by paramedics to be okay.
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Crews were also challenged by the possibility of a storm that was moving in, but caused little disturbance. Additionally, the excessive rain over the past several days caused the river to rise and the possibility of the nearby dam opening up. The Incident Commander kept in touch with the AEP Dam officials to determine if the dam would open, in which case the Swift Water Rescue Team would need to halt all water operations. Norfolk Southern was also notified so that the train conductor would not be alarmed by the number of emergency vehicles near (but not on or too close to) the train track in the area.