Man Missing In Great Smoky Mountains Located After Extensive Search

Courtesy of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Service

On Tuesday, April 9, a 35-year-old man was reported missing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Jacob Riggs was reported missing after his car was found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Park rangers, volunteers, and several local organizations had been searching for him since April 8, following the discovery of his unattended vehicle near Townsend.

Riggs was last seen in Maynardville, Tennessee, on April 7 before his disappearance.

The National Park Service shared a missing person flyer of Jacob Riggs with the public, providing crucial information about his disappearance.

Jacob Riggs missing person flyer.

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Missing Man Finally Discovered In Smoky Mountains

On Wednesday, April 10, Riggs was eventually discovered around 8:00 a.m. near Tremont by a park visitor who “recognized that he was in need of care,” according to a news release from the park.

The visitor promptly brought Riggs to the Incident Command Post near Townsend Wye, where he was evaluated and taken to a local hospital for minor injuries and exposure to the weather.

“The National Park Service is thankful for all of the local agencies and volunteers who participated in the search,” the news release stated.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, sprawling across Western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, is the most-visited national park, with approximately 13.3 million visitors in 2023. Additionally, about 100 search and rescue operations are conducted in the park each year.

The Great Smoky Mountains has also been ranked as the third most dangerous national park.

National Park Safety Measures & Guidelines

The National Park Service emphasizes several safety measures to ensure a safe and enjoyable park experience for all visitors. Here are a few park regulations for visitors to follow:

  • Upon arrival at the park, visitors should check in with park rangers for information on closures, hazards, or expected weather changes.
  • It is important to adhere to park regulations to ensure personal safety and respect for the park’s guidelines.
  • Visitors are encouraged to stay on designated trails, avoid shortcuts, and remain together as a group to reduce the risk of serious injury.
  • It’s vital to check in with oneself and others, stay hydrated, and be mindful of weather changes and wildlife encounters during park activities.

These park safety measures are designed to ensure the well-being of visitors, preserve the park environment, and promote responsible outdoor recreation. Check out more tips in the video below to stay #SmokiesSafe!

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