CONTACT:
Capt. John Wimsatt: 603-271-3129
Sgt. Dave Eskeland: 603-271-3127
January 28, 2013

Successful Tri-State N.H.-Vermont-Maine Reciprocal Snowmobile Weekend

Snowmobilers enjoy a N.H. trail

CONCORD, N.H. – The three-day Tri-State New Hampshire-Vermont-Maine Reciprocal Snowmobile weekend (January 25-27) was a great success this year, with many North Country restaurants and hotels reporting brisk business from riders.

"We've gotten a lot of good feedback that people really enjoyed the weekend," said Captain John Wimsatt of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. "While we responded to several snow machine accidents during the course of the weekend, it's important to keep in mind that every year 50,000 to 60,000 snowmobile enthusiasts take to the trails in New Hampshire. Snowmobiling remains a safe and enjoyable activity. Of course, we encourage everyone to ride responsibly and wear protective gear."

Although a very safe weekend overall, Fish and Game Conservation Officers responded to a number of snowmobile crashes during the weekend. Following is a round-up:

Snowmobile Crash in Bartlett Injures Rhode Island Woman
CONTACT: CO Alex Lopashanski – 603-271-3361

A single-vehicle snowmobile crash on the Meadow Brook Trail off Bear Notch Road in New Hampshire's White Mountains resulted in the operator being airlifted via helicopter. At about 1:20 p.m. on January 27, 2013, Laurie Humes, age 54, of Portsmouth, R.I., was operating a rented snowmobile and failed to negotiate a downhill turn in the trail. Humes collided with two medium-sized boulders and continued into the forest until her machine hit a tree. Her arm and leg were injured, though she remained alert and conscious. Her riding partner, Donald J. Lavoie Jr. of Marlborough, MA, alerted two U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers who were nearby on the trail, and they called for assistance. 

The crash occurred about 10 miles from the trailhead.   Bartlett Jackson Fire and Rescue Personnel responded by snowmobile to stabilize the patient.  Humes was transported out to the trailhead on a tracked All Terrain Vehicle and rescue sled, arriving at 3:20 p.m. While en route to the trailhead, possible complications with the patient's injuries necessitated the call for the DHART helicopter, which landed near the trailhead and transported her from the scene for treatment.

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N.Y. Couple Injured in a Snow Machine Crash in Dalton, N.H.
CONTACT: Conservation Officer Glen Lucas 603-788-4850 or 603-271-3361

At 3:00 p.m. on January 27, 2013, State Police Troop F received a report of a single snow machine crash on Primary Trail 105 in Dalton, in which both the operator and passenger were injured. Dalton Fire Rescue, Whitefield Fire Rescue, Whitefield Police and a New Hampshire Fish and Game Conservation Officer responded to the scene. The operator was 44-year-old Jennifer Lizzol, and the passenger was her husband Michael Lizzol, age 47.  The Lizzols, of Mastic, N.Y., had rented the snow machine while staying at a hotel in Whitefield. The husband described the crash as “coming over a knoll and losing control.” As they left the trail, they went over a stone wall and were thrown from the machine.  The Lizzols were transported to Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster for further evaluation and treatment. The severity of their injuries was unknown, but they did not appear to be life threatening.  Inexperience appeared to be the leading cause of the crash.
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Simultaneous Crashes Injure Two Snowmobilers in Pittsburg
CONTACT: Conservation Officer Christopher Egan - 603-788-4850 or 603-271-3361.

At about 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, January 26, Fish and Game Conservation Officers were called to investigate three nearly simultaneous snowmobile crashes in the town of Pittsburg, N.H. The first occurred when Kristen R. Cortigiano, 20, of Farmington, CT, failed to negotiate a curve and downhill grade on Trail 20, causing her machine to go over an embankment, striking a large stump. Cortigiano received what appeared to be serious, but non-life threatening injuries as a result of the crash. She was transported by rescue sled from the scene by Pittsburg Fire and Rescue to an ambulance staged at Indian Stream Road. From there, Cortigiano was relayed to a designated helicopter landing zone at Murphy Dam, where she was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon by a DHART air ambulance. The snowmobile she was operating sustained front end damage, but was able to be driven from the scene.     

Investigation of the scene indicated that a second machine in the group had also gone off the trail in the same location, sustaining minor damage. The operator of that machine, Michael M. Fallat, 21, of Auburn, NY, was not injured; however he was charged with operating a snowmobile on a suspended license. Failure to adjust speed to changing trail conditions appears to have been the primary factor in both incidents.

While Conservation Officers and rescue personnel were at the scene on Trail 20, a third snowmobile crash was reported on Trail 142 in Pittsburg. Theresa Voci, 52, of Randolph, VT, suffered injuries to her leg and thigh after her snowmobile left a bend in the trail, went down an embankment and struck several logs beneath the snow. Voci was transported from the scene via a tracked rescue vehicle by Beecher Falls Fire and Rescue personnel. She was then airlifted to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, ME, by a Life Flight of Maine helicopter. The injured operator and her husband told Conservation Officers that another group of snowmobiles traveling in the middle of the trail at a high rate of speed in the opposite direction forced Voci off the trail to avoid colliding with them.

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During this busy period, Conservation Officers were also called to Mt. Adams to assist in a tragic incident involving a falling death for an ice climber. The report follows:

Mountaineer Falls To His Death on Mt. Adams
CONTACT: Lt. Douglas J. Gralenski: 603-788-4850 or 603-271-3361

On Saturday, January 26, 2013, a group of seven climbers set out to summit Mt. Adams via King’s Ravine. Tragically, one of the climbers fell to his death.  At about 1:00 p.m., Richard Gabrielle, a 64-year-old man from University Park, Texas, was near the top of what is known as the Great Gully in King’s Ravine when he lost his footing and slid down into the ravine, which has a 67-degree slope. Gabrielle travelled over 1,500 feet and dropped vertically over 950 feet before coming to rest.  He sustained significant injuries that killed him instantly.

Gabrielle was well equipped for his expedition and was wearing crampons, using an ice axe, and wearing a helmet at the time of his fall.  He was not using a rope for the ascent. Although he was with six others, Richard Gabrielle was the last in line and his fall was not witnessed firsthand. Four of the climbers had already crested the top of the Great Gully and were out of sight and hearing due to the steady alpine winds.The remaining climber, Leo Freeman, age 60, from Presque Isle, Maine, was closest to Gabrielle and realized he must have fallen, as he had an unobstructed view of the gulley and Gabrielle was no longer in sight. 

Unable to make voice contact with the other climbers, Freeman descended in the hopes of finding his hiking companion. Unfortunately, evidence indicated that Gabrielle had fallen the entire length of Great Gully, and the possibility of survival was remote. Freeman called 911 to report the incident.  Lt. Douglas Gralenski, of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department was made aware of the incident and initiated a rescue response.  Soon after, Freeman continued his search and found the body of Richard Gabrielle.

The caretaker of Randolph Mountain Club’s Gray Knob Cabin, Caleb Jackson, along withikeSafe logohMikePelchat of the Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue Team (AVSAR) were the first to arrive on scene. Soon after, Fish and Game's Advanced Search and Rescue Team, additional members of AVSAR, andmembers of Mountain Rescue Service out of Conway also arrived to assist with removal of the body, which was broughtto the Appalachia trailhead in Randolph at 7:02 p.m.

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Fish and Game reminds all those heading out to enjoy the outdoors to be prepared with proper clothing and gear (visit hikeSafe.com) and to ride responsibly (visit ride.nh.gov).

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NH Fish and Game Dept.
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