A woman who became lost in the North Georgia mountains this week credits Pickens County sheriff’s deputies with saving her life.
Detelina Stamatova, whose family immigrated to metro Atlanta from Bulgaria when she was a teen, moved with them to Dawson County one year ago.
Still trying to familiarize herself with the area, the 35-year-old was driving along Hwy 515 in Pickens County late Monday afternoon when she spotted a sign that said “Scenic View” at a pull-off area near Talking Rock.
“I was like, well people do park here. There must be something to see,” she tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
While overgrowth has long taken away any view, Stamatova saw a path she assumed was a trail leading to one. Parking her car, she set off with only her cell phone and keys.
At some point, she became lost as she wandered along the mountainous terrain.
“I’m not trained for stuff like this. I did not go out hiking—that was not in my plan,” she says.
When Stamatova could no longer see the path or a way out, she began to panic.
“My head was pounding (and) my body was shaking. I couldn’t walk anymore. I was very weak,” she says.
Luckily, she still had cell phone service and was able to call 911 for help. Within an hour, two Pickens County sheriff’s deputies climbed down and located her. They carried her safety back to her car.
“I can’t tell you how thankful I am to those men (and) to the 911 operator who stayed on the phone with me the entire time until they came and found me,” says Stamatova.
A spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Transportation tells Parrish it is responsible for maintaining the trees and brush along the guardrail for the pull-off area and will have crews respond to the issue as soon as possible.
Stamatova thinks signage at the entrance to the path needs to warn any would-be hikers it is not an actual trail.
She is just thankful she was rescued before losing daylight.
“If I had passed out, there’s no telling when I would have woken up. It could have been dark. I know I saw signs that said “Bears” out there,” she says.
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