A man who called for help with a cell phone was found after woods east of the Wilkesboros were searched for about 2 1/2 hours late Sunday afternoon.
Broadway Fire Chief Tracy Brooks said James Benge, 57, didn’t appear to have any serious injuries but complained about his back and legs hurting when Broadway firefighter Terrance Queen found him about 6:15 p.m. Sunday near U.S. 421 East.
Broadway firefighter Benny Anderson said U.S. 421 was checked and Benge was found near the North Wilkesboro Speedway and Fishing Creek Arbor Road after traffic was heard in the background when the man called again.
Benge had walked through woods for two or three miles from where he first called for help about 3:45 p.m. Officials said Benge lives in a tent in woods off dead end Stoneridge Lane, which is off Fishing Creek Arbor Road.
Anderson said it was the sixth or seventh time emergency personnel have had to search for Benge in the same forested area in his 12 years as a Broadway firefighter. There are hundreds of acres of woods and mountainous terrain between the Lynnwoode neighborhood on the west, N.C. 115 on the south and Fishing Creek Arbor Road on the north and east.
The Wilkes Communications Center issued a BOLO (be on the lookout) for Benge in the Stoneridge Lane area at about 5:40 p.m. Sunday.
The Wilkes Rescue Squad was first dispatched by the Wilkes Communications Center to search for him about 3:45 p.m. Sunday, followed soon afterwards by the Broadway, Little Brushy Mountain and Roaring River fire departments.
The Wilkes Sheriff’s Department was also on the scene.