Lt. James Juneau: (603) 271-3361
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211 or 271-5619
November 7, 2011
Three Lost Hikers Found in Gilmanton
GILMANTON, N.H. -- At approximately 5:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon (November 6, 2011) the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department was notified about three lost hikers in the Belknap Mountain Range. According to Conservation Officer Lieutenant James Juneau, the lost hikers included 31 year-old scout leader William Sherwin of Brookline, Mass., and two 14-year-old scouts who were hiking as part of a Boy Scout Troop from Brookline, MA.
The troop departed from Camp Bell in Gilmanton on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. and began a nine-mile hike. At 1:15 p.m., the three hikers left the main group at the summit of Straightback Mountain, and were last seen heading west on a trail leading towards Mount Anna and back to the camp.
The three hikers used a cell phone to call another member of the troop at 2:37 p.m. to advise they had gotten off the trail and were lost. The last cell phone contact from the three hikers was at 4:24 p.m. A father of one of the lost scouts notified New Hampshire State Police, who in turn called Fish and Game Dispatch.
The lost hikers were described as being equipped with some water, snacks, a map and a compass. They were not prepared with lights or warm gear for overnight temperatures which dropped below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to the mountainous terrain, efforts to contact the hikers or determine their position by their cell phones proved unsuccessful.
Conservation Officers responded to the scene, along with members of the Gilmanton Police and Fire Departments, and personnel from the Daniel Webster Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Search teams were deployed to search area trails. At 8:00 p.m., the New Hampshire State Police helicopter responded and searched area woods utilizing night-vision and forward-looking infrared (FLIR) technology.
At 10:12 p.m., the State Police helicopter located the lost hikers in the woods more than two miles from the camp and about 200 yards from a main trail. Ground teams reached the hikers’ position at 10:50 p.m. The hikers were cold and tired, but not injured. They were able to hike out on their own to the Old Stage Trail, along with the rescue team, and arrived at the Camp Bell parking lot at 11:35 p.m.
New Hampshire Fish and Game reminds hikers to be prepared with appropriate gear, including warm clothing and lights, as the days shorten and the nights grow colder. It is also important for hikers to stay together when venturing out as part of a group.
For more information on safe hiking, visit www.hikesafe.com.