CO Alex Lopashanski: 603-271-3361
Maj. Tim Acerno: 603-271-3129
July 14, 2009
Four Massachusetts Hikers, Lost after Dark on Mount Chocorua, Return Safely
CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Conservation Officers were called in late last night (July 13, 2009) to search for four overdue hikers on the Bolles Trail on Mt. Chocorua in Albany, N.H. The young men, all age 23, were Matthew Mastrogiacomi, Christopher Rowland and Daniel Mastrangelo, all of Weymouth, Mass., and Matthew Elliot of Dorchester, Mass. They were not carrying a trail map, flashlights or hiking equipment.
The hikers had left the Champney Falls/Bolles Brook Trailhead at 6 p.m. Monday and reached the top of Mount Chocorua at about 7:30 p.m. They then continued to walk on Bolles Trail, mistakenly thinking it would loop back to the trailhead. In fact, the trail continues on to Tamworth. As night fell, the hikers began to realize that the trail was not taking them in the right direction, so they turned around. They slowly made their way back to the trailhead in the darkness. At one point they had cell phone reception and, realizing they were in trouble, managed to call a friend, asking him to call for help if he didn't hear from them in two hours. The friend reported them missing at 11:45 p.m. Authorities asked the caller to go place a note on the hikers' car windshield explaining that searchers were looking for them, which he did.
Fish and Game Sgt Jim Juneau was the first to respond to the scene, arriving at the trailhead at approximately 12:45 a.m.; two other Conservation Officers were on the way. In the meantime, the overdue hikers had managed to find their way back to the trailhead at about 12:30 a.m. They got in and drove away, not noticing the note on their windshield. They proceeded to turn the wrong way on the Kancamagus Highway, heading in the opposite direction from where they were staying in Albany. Some time later, they turned around and were spotted on the highway by Fish and Game officers.
"These young men were lucky to get back to safety after setting out late in the day without a trail map, an understanding of the trail system, or lights to use on the trail when they did get caught out there after dark," said Conservation Officer Alex Lopashanksi. "If they had been better prepared, this incident could have been prevented."
For information and safe hiking tips, visit www.hikesafe.com.
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