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FBI investigating reported machete attack on Appalachian Trail hikers, sheriff’s office says

Posted: 1:49 PM, May 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-12 13:49:55-04

Multiple agencies are investigating reports that a man with a machete attacked hikers on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia, according to a local sheriff’s office.

A man and a woman were injured in the attack, which was reported by two hikers early Saturday morning, the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Wythe County deputies subsequently found and arrested a suspect, who has not been named by authorities.

The case is being investigated by the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police, the US Forest Service and the FBI, the sheriff’s office said. A stretch of the trail has been closed.

Authorities were able to find the injured man using GPS technology after he sent an emergency notification via his cellphone, Wythe County Sheriff Keith Dunagan told CNN affiliate WSLS.

“The phone company notified us and that’s when we went up there and found the suspect and the victim,” the sheriff said. “We had our whole (tactical) team out there, so (the suspect) wisely just surrendered himself.”

According to Dunagan, the injured woman was found only after she had walked six miles while bleeding, found other hikers and asked for help.

Dunagan told CNN affiliate WSLS the woman will survive her injuries. Law enforcement officials would not comment on the man’s condition.