Sgt. Brian Suttmeier: 603-271-3361
Lt. Heidi Murphy: 603-271-3127
Jane Vachon: 603-271-3211
December 12, 2013
Lost Massachusetts Hiker Rescued in White Mountains
NEW HAMPTON, N.H. – A lost Massachusetts hiker spent a bitterly cold night in the White Mountains before being rescued and airlifted to safety today (Thursday, December 12, 2014).
David Fielding, age 21, of Wilmington, Mass., set out Wednesday morning (December 11) about 8 a.m. to hike in Franconia Notch in Lincoln, N.H. He hiked up the Falling Waters Trail, then intentionally went off trail, eventually losing his way in the woods. He was reported overdue from his hike, and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department was alerted at 2 a.m. Thursday. By daylight, a search was coordinated and10 Fish and Game Conservation Officers and 10 volunteers from the Mountain Rescue Service set out to search the mountain for Fielding. An Army National Guard helicopter also assisted.
Fielding was located at 12:30 p.m. about 200 feet from the summit of Mount Haystack by other hikers on the Falling Waters Trail. They notified authorities by cell phone, and Fielding was airlifted off the mountain by the National Guard helicopter to a waiting ambulance, which took him to Littleton Hospital. Though mildly hypothermic, he had no major injuries.
"This young man may not have survived if he had not been carrying some cold weather gear, including a sleeping bag," said Sgt. Brian Suttmeier of N.H. Fish and Game. "His mistakes were hiking alone, intentionally leaving the marked trail, and going hiking when the weather was predicted to be inclement."
Fish and Game authorities remind hikers and climbers that mid-winter weather conditions are in full force above the treeline, including temperatures well below zero and days and nights with high winds, blowing snow and ice. Outdoor enthusiasts should be prepared for these Arctic-like conditions.
Find information on safe hiking and the hiker responsibility code at hikesafe.com.
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