CONTACT:
Col. Jeffrey Gray: (603) 271-3128
Liza Poinier: (603) 271-3211
August 4, 2004

Young Massachusetts Camper Dies During Hike in Sandwich Range

CONCORD, N.H. -- On August 3, 13-year-old Antonio Hansell of Dorchester, Massachusetts died during a traverse of the Sandwich Mountain Range, which is located in Holderness and Sandwich, New Hampshire. Family members have been notified. According to Col. Jeffrey Gray of N.H. Fish and Game, the Medical Examiner's Office in Concord will conduct an autopsy in an attempt to determine the boy's cause of death, which is unknown.

Hansell was part of a group of six campers and two counselors from Camp Hale in Center Sandwich that set out on the 6.5-mile hike Tuesday morning. When the hiking group reached Mt. Doublehead, Hansell and one of the counselors reportedly separated from the rest of the group because Hansell was having difficulty keeping up.

At approximately 4:20 p.m., Fish and Game received a call from the camp reporting that the group had split up, and expressing concern that one of the hiking groups had encountered a bear.

The larger group of five campers and one counselor eventually emerged from the woods at the Sandwich Notch Road trailhead, as expected; but the two other hikers were unaccounted for.

According to the counselor with Hansell, the pair saw a black bear on the trail, became alarmed and ran in the opposite direction. The boy lost one sneaker. The pair subsequently went back in an attempt to retrieve the sneaker, but found the bear still on the trail. Hansell and the counselor again ran in the opposite direction.

According to Sgt. Goss, the counselor was in contact with camp staff by cell phone following the bear encounter. The counselor reported that the camper was scared and did not want to continue the hike.

Sgt. Goss contacted the counselor by cell phone, and requested to talk to the boy; Goss's assessment at that time was that Hansell was suffering from respiratory distress.

Additional counselors from Camp Hale were directed to the Mt. Doublehead Trail trailhead and responded, with Sgt. Goss, to render assistance. The boy's location was approximately one-half mile from the trailhead. Fire and Rescue units from Sandwich and Holderness were also called to respond.

When rescue professionals reached Hansell's location, they determined that the boy was not breathing and had no pulse. They conducted CPR and attempted to revive the youth without success. Hansell was evacuated by litter via the Mt. Doublehead Trail, located on a logging road off Route 113. Resuscitation efforts were continued throughout the evacuation and during Hansell's transport by ambulance to Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth, where he was later pronounced dead.

No further information is available at this time.

For hiking safety information, visit www.hikesafe.com.

What should you do if you encounter a bear on the trail?

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