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Cell phone tracking helps emergency crews find injured kayaker on Talking Rock Creek

     A group kayaking trip on Talking Rock Creek took a turn for the worse when a Cartersville man broke his leg between river rocks.
    And if someone in the group hadn’t had their cell phone handy, locating the injured man would have been an even bigger challenge for emergency workers, who hunted for the party for  over an hour and a half after the initial call came in at 11 a.m.

    According to Pickens County Fire Captian Zeb McAllister, the man and two others were travelling the creek on fishing kayaks  on Wednesday, July 8, hunting turtles. The man broke his leg when he got out to stop the boat.
    “The current pushed the kayak and knocked into him,” McAllister said. “Those fishing kayaks are really made for lakes and oceans, not creeks.”
    McAllister said 911 eventually traced the group’s location by “pinging” one of their cell phones and guiding emergency workers to the site.
    “The cell service out there is real hit and miss and it was hard to hear,” McAllister said, “but we were able to piece together that it was between Swan Bridge and Chastain Bridge on Talking Rock Creek, which is about two to three miles. There are some clear cut areas along the bank but a lot of it is forest and banks that are 20-30 feet tall. It’s hard to get to.”
    Another person in the party was able to pull the man up on shore, which is where he was when emergency crews arrived. The man sustained a compound fracture and was transported to Kennestone Hospital. 
     The captain said in his eight years with the county this is the first case he’s worked involving an injured boater on Talking Rock Creek.
    “Our training officer was involved with one further up the creek,” he said, “but it’s not common.”
    McAllister said while he doesn’t know specific numbers, a “good number” of people travel Talking Rock Creek by canoe or kayak - which is shallow and can be traversed by foot in most places - often putting in at Chastain Bridge on Highway 136.
    “It’s shallow with a few deep spots,” he said. “People like to get in at Chastain and head to Carters Lake.” 

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