2 missing hikers found in Mount Washington State Forest
MOUNT WASHINGTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) – Two hikers are safe after becoming stranded in heavy snow in the Mount Washington State Forest on Tuesday.
Mass. State Police spokesperson David Procopio said that the rescue operation began around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday when a 911 call came from one of the hikers. The hiker reportedly told authorities that he and his friend went on a hike on Alander Trail in the forest and couldn’t see trail markings because of approaching darkness and the snowstorm. In addition, they couldn’t continue to a cabin to which they were heading at the mountain’s peak and couldn’t retrace their steps back out of the forest.
The hikers were told to stay where they were and a search team was assembled. Authorities worked to obtain and plot the exact coordinates of the hikers’ location while a command post, comprised of local and state agencies, was created on Route 23 in Egremont. Roads between the command post and the forest trail’s entrance also had to be cleared of snow and downed utility lines so that snowmobiles could be used in the search.
Shortly after 11:15 p.m., after National Grid was able to shut off power to those fallen utility lines, a six-person search team went out. However, because of the deep snow, the snowmbobiles were unable to be used. Shortly after midnight, the searchers then began an approximately two-mile walk into the woods to the determined coordinates.
Procopio added that the search team found the hikers approximately two-and-a-half hours later, around 2:30 a.m. The men, ages 47 and 53, were fatigued and cold, but not injured. The searchers and hikers then worked their way back out of the forest and made it back to the DCR office near the trail entrance around 4:48 a.m.
The hikers were checked out by EMTs at the scene and taken to an area hospital for evaluation because of their fatigue and exposure to the cold weather.
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