Bear hunter finds missing biker on AT

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A young Macon County man who was reported missing after he told his family Tuesday night he was going dirt biking on trails in the Nantahala National Forest was found uninjured around 8 a.m. this morning. 

Harley Cochran, 18, told his family he was going dirt biking on trails off Tellico Road in Macon County around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, but his family got concerned when he didn’t return before dark and alerted Macon County Emergency Department. A search off Tellico Road ensued. 

Swain County was contacted Wednesday morning around 6:15 a.m. to assist in the search, with crews setting out to search on the Appalachian Trail around 8 a.m. off Wesser Creek. 

Macon County searchers reported shortly after they located Cochran’s dirt bike. 

Soon after, a bear hunter reported that Cochran walked up on him, and the hunter was able to walk him back down out of the forest. A Swain County deputy drove Cochran back to Macon County to meet up with his family. 

“His condition was good,” said Swain County Emergency Management Director David Breedlove. “He was taken back to his parents. He reported no injuries to us.”

In Swain, responders with Swain County Rescue Squad, Swain County Emergency Management and Swain County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the search. 



Smoky Mountain Times

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