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Smoky Mountain Hiker Dies

May 29, 2005 

Great Smoky Mountain National Park - Dr. John Bolinger, 56, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was hiking up the Alum Cave Trail with a group of five other men, intent on an overnight stay at LeConte Lodge. About a mile from the lodge and more than three miles from the trailhead, Bolinger suddenly collapsed on the side of the trail.

He almost immediately stopped breathing and turned cyanotic. His hiking companions pulled him back onto the trail and began CPR. After the companions performed CPR for four or five minutes, two doctors from another party that were hiking on the trail arrived on scene. The doctors assessed the patient and continued CPR for about 10 minutes. After about 10 to 15 minutes, they reassessed the patient and decided to discontinue CPR.

Another hiker moved up the trail to a point where he could get cell phone reception and called 911 for assistance. The 911 call was transferred to the park dispatch center and rangers arrived on the scene at about 6:10 p.m. With the assistance of lodge concession employees, they transported Bolingerís body to the lodge. On May 30th, the body was packed out by horse and transferred to the custody of the county coroner.


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