Capt. Martin Garabedian: (603) 271-3128
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
January 11, 2007
Two Overnight Search and Rescues Resolved Successfully
CONCORD, N.H. -- Two overnight search and rescue operations ended successfully and without major injury, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Conservation Officers reported today. One incident involved two hikers in the White Mountains caught above the treeline in a snow squall. The second involved an elderly man lost overnight in the woods behind his Swanzey home.
In the first incident, hiker Wayne Rodriguez, age 50, of Westfield, Massachusetts, called 911 at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 10, 2007, reporting that he and his hiking companion, Janice Doubleday, age 55, of Hiram, Maine, were lost above the treeline on Mount Adams in New Hampshire's White Mountains. They were on a day hike from the Randolph Mountain Club's Gray Knob Hut. Severe snow squalls and high winds had caused them to lose the trail and they were unable to continue. The hikers were advised to seek shelter among the rocks and wait for help. The pair crawled into a cold-weather sleeping bag that they had with them.
A team of four Conservation Officers from Fish and Game's specialized Search and Rescue Team, along with two members of the Randolph Mountain Club, organized a search effort. The team encountered blowing snow, 40-50 mph winds and a temperature of 15 degrees below zero during the search. They located the hikers at approximately 1 a.m. on January 11, 2007. The hikers were in the initial stages of hypothermia, but were able to walk. The search team helped the hikers walk back to the Gray Knob Hut, arriving at about 2 a.m. At daybreak, they brought them down the mountain.
"If it weren't for the Search Team's efforts,
these two hikers would have had serious issues with hypothermia and frostbite
by morning," said Captain Martin Garabedian of Fish and Game Law
A separate incident the same evening was a search for a missing 85-year-old man, Walter Calkins, of Swanzey, N.H. Calkins had left for a walk behind his home around noon on January 10, 2007, and had not returned. The Swanzey Police Department was notified just as it was getting dark and began a search. They called in the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department at about 9:30 p.m.
Fish and Game coordinated a search throughout the night, utilizing Fish and Game Conservation Officers and personnel from local fire departments, New England Canine Search and Rescue and Upper Valley Search and Rescue. Temperatures dipped to 19 degrees F. This morning (January 11, 2007), more volunteers joined the search, along with fire departments from Swanzey, Keene and Winchester. Calkins was located at about 9:45 a.m. on January 11, 2007, approximately 3/4 mile behind his residence. He was walking, but his legs were encased in ice from the knees down from falls during the night. Calkins was transported to Cheshire Medical Center in Keene for evaluation.
No further details are available at this time.
hikeSafe: Fish and Game officials urge hikers to visit www.hikesafe.com before heading out on the trail, for a valuable refresher on the rules for safe hiking, such as keeping your group together on the trail, as well as a list of essential gear to carry. The site also includes links to websites, such as the Mt. Washington Observatory, for weather updates and other information.