• 52°

In the end, search for person in distress really got their goat

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
Law enforcement officers and emergency workers were taken on a wild goat chase Tuesday around noon.
A caller who lived near Nicholas Run Road, not far from Hurley Elementary School, thought he heard someone call for help.
The call originally came in as an unknown medical call, “meaning the person just thinks someone is in distress,” explained Wayne Harkey, a rescue technician with the Rowan Rescue Squad.
Locke Fire Chief Rusty Alexander, who was in command at the scene, then called others to search when he thought it was, in fact, a missing person, Harkey said.
Officials conducted more than an hour-long land and air search. A N.C. Highway Patrol dispatcher confirmed their helicopter was used to search.
A goat was found sometime after 1 p.m. and the search was called off.
Harkey said one of the search teams stumbled upon the goat. It sounded like a human calling for help, he said.
A goat’s bleat, “can sound quite like a human,” Harkey said.
Although rather comical after all was said and done, at the time of the search there was nothing funny, he said.
“We’d rather be safe than sorry. It makes all the difference in the world,” Harkey said.
During this search all of the protocol was followed with the thought that rescuers were searching for a person.
Harkey described how a typical search is carried out.
Once emergency workers find that someone is missing, the closest fire department along with the rescue squad is dispatched to that location.
Officials first determine if a crime occurred or if the person simply walked away.
“The average person can walk 2-3 mph. It makes our job difficult from the start,” Harkey said.
All of the agencies worked well together, he said.
In addition to the Rowan County Rescue Squad, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, the N.C. Highway Patrol, Locke Fire and Franklin Fire departments also responded.

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