Photo: Courtesy of Henderson County Rescue Squad

The N.C. Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team’s Blackhawk helicopter extracted a hiker Oct. 19 from the base of Big Bradley Falls in Polk County. (Photo: Courtesy of Henderson County Rescue Squad)

Charleston man falls to his death while hiking above NC waterfall

A 28-year-old man from Charleston, SC fell to his death on Saturday while hiking at Big Bradley Falls near Saluda, NC. Aaron Post was hiking with a group of people around the 80-foot waterfall when he fell. It had been raining on and off on Saturday, and the rocks were extra slippery. 

More than 50 rescue personnel took part in the effort to evacuate Post, extracting him from the water below the falls. Although Post was conscious during the time of his rescue, he later died from his injuries. 

This was the first rescue of 2019 at Big Bradley Falls, which traditionally sees a few rescues each year. The last known death at the falls happened in February 2017, when a man from Charlotte, NC fell to his death while hiking with his young daughters. 

Hiker says Apple Watch saved his life after a fall

A hiker from New Jersey says he owes his life to the device he wears around his wrist. James Prudenciano, 28, was out hiking with his partner, Paige Paruso, when they fell over a steep cliff that was camouflaged by foliage. Paruso fell into the river and was uninjured but Prudenciano landed on a rock and suffered three fractures in his back. “I really felt I was going to die,” he told News 12 New Jersey. “I literally said my last goodbyes.”

Luckily for Prudenciano, his Apple Watch wasn’t going to let him go that easily. The device automatically dialed 911 after it detected his hard fall. The latest Apple Watch models boast an SOS feature, which detects hard falls and asks the user if they’d like to call 911. If the user does not move for more than a minute, the watch automatically calls emergency services. Thanks to Prudenciano’s Apple Watch, both he and Paruso were rescued and taken to the hospital where they were treated for their injuries. 

Report warns two-thirds of North American birds face extinction

A new report from the National Audubon Society illustrates how climate change could have a devastating effect on two-thirds of birds in North America. The report shows that if global temperatures are allowed to rise 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, the majority of birds in North American will face dire challenges, including extinction. There is good news, however. If temperature rise is kept to 1.5 degrees Celsius or less, many of the negative outcomes can be avoided. 

The results of the report show that with less than 3 degrees of warming, Minnesota will lose their beloved loons. Wood thrush would disappear from 60 percent of the land it currently calls home, including the Midwest and Deep South. All species of birds in the Arctic could face extinction as could over three-quarters of water birds. Just last month, another major study showed that over the last half century, North America has lost nearly 3 billon breeding birds.