JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The four rescuers who did not check in following the search for a missing man have returned to the staging area. Two rescuers are from Ider Rescue Squad and two from HEMSI Canine were unable to make radio contact with other rescuers while walking back to the staging area.
Earlier on Thursday, emergency crews located a 71-year-old man missing since Wednesday morning at The Walls of Jericho in Jackson County.
Jackson County Sheriff Chuck Phillips says Mack Orick of Knoxville, Tennessee had been last heard from at that area.”He had called a family member and said he was going to come up here and see the walls, and that was the last contact anyone has had with him,” Sheriff Phillips said during the search.
Phillips says Orick was headed to Mississippi when he decided to stop in Jackson County. A police station in Mississippi put out an alert for Orick when they were told he didn’t arrive when he said he would. “They contacted us last night. Around nine thirty, ten o’clock last night we started our search up here,” Sheriff Phillips says.
ATVs, searchers on foot, scent dogs, and a state helicopter helped to scour the thousands of acres. Orick was finally located around two o’clock Thursday afternoon. The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Unit found him near the walls, about four miles from where the searchers set up headquarters.
He has some bumps and bruises but is otherwise okay.
“I am so thankful that he’s healthy. I had almost given up hope,” said Jimmy Orick, Mack’s younger brother.
Mack Orick was taken to Highlands Medical Center in Scottsboro for treatment.
Jackson County Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen estimates nearly 70 people from various agencies helped in the search. Marshall, Madison, Jackson, DeKalb, and Franklin counties all sent people to help. Sheriff Phillips says most of them were volunteers. “Vounteers from DeKalb County, Tennessee, from all over. There’s just no way we could have done a search like this without volunteers.”
Wednesday night when the search started, it rained for hours, and then the temperature dropped into the 30s. Jackson County Sheriff Chuck Phillips said Orick went into the woods wearing clothes for warm weather.
After the search the four responders went missing. Deputies tell WHNT News 19 they believe the scent dog they were with took the four responders down the trail further than they thought they had gone.
Nearly four hours after the search all four made it back to the make-shift headquarters safely. An ambulance was called for them for dehydration. The responders tell us they had walked nearly five miles from where they had started.