UPDATE: Police identify hiker found on Appalachian Trail

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The deceased hiker found on the Appalachian Trail has been identified as James Allen Nanninga, age 70, of Florida.

Late Friday afternoon, Bedford County Sheriff’s investigators spoke with family members in Florida and learned that Nanninga was hiking the trail alone.

The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office received word from the Medical Examiner’s Office that a cause of death will not determined until all tests results are in. However, there is no evidence of foul play.


The Bedford County Sheriff's office have confirmed that the man found on the Appalachian Trail is dead.

Officials say the body of the hiker, that was located yesterday, was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Roanoke.

Investigators are waiting to learn more about the cause of death, but they say it appears to have been a tragic accident.


Just after 11:30 p.m. search and rescue teams were able to extricate the man who had fallen off the Appalachian trail and bring him back to land. His condition is not being reported by law enforcement officials at this time.

Over 50 first responders from Rockbridge County search and rescue, Bedford County Fire and Rescue, Bedford County Sheriff's Office, Forest Volunteer Fire Department, Big Island Fire Department and the Lynchburg Fire Department were on the scene.

Rockbridge got a phone call alerting them of a "hiker down" at approximately 10:42 a.m. Thursday. Bedford was alerted just after 1:00 p.m.

The man fell on county lines and very far down. He was also in a territory considered "wilderness", meaning no man made objects are allowed into the space. This limited what kind of rescue equipment first responders were able to use.

There were foot teams on the trail who used rope and were able to get down to the man. In addition, teams were sent out on boats to meet them at the edge of the river near the ravine.

ORIGINAL VERSION: A search and rescue operation is underway along the Appalachian Trail, between the Blue Ridge Parkway and the James River in Bedford County, according to county emergency personnel.

Dispatchers in Bedford County received a 911 call at 1:00 Thursday afternoon, regarding hikers who were injured along the Appalachian Trail. Lieutenant Mark Carter with Bedford County Fire and Rescue said a hiker fell in a ravine around 8 miles from Petit Trail Head.

Two teams are moving in to rescue the injured hiker. Carter characterized the situation as a "severe fall" in terms of distance. He said emergency crews are bringing in specialized equipment to pull the hiker out of the ravine.

Emergency crews from Rockbridge County, Bedford County Fire and Rescue, the Bedford County Sheriff’s Officer, Big Island and Forest Fire Departments are searching in a wooded area near a small fire trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway between Bedford and Big Island.