Thursday, October 10, 2019

A Busy Week of Adirondack Mountain Rescues

forest ranger logoNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the Adirondack backcountry.

What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks.

Essex County

Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On Sept. 30 at 4:34 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiking party on the north side of Mount Colden reporting an 18-year-old female in the group fatigued and unable to walk. Through additional questioning by Rangers and Dispatch, it was discovered that the hiker had a pre-existing heart condition, that if taxed, causes circulation issues, fatigue, and an inability to walk. Forest Rangers Robert Praczkajlo and Robbi Mecus responded to Lake Clear Aviation to be transported by helicopter to the incident location. Once the hiker was located, a hoist rescue was performed and the woman from Mechanicville was airlifted to a local hospital for additional medical treatment. The two remaining hikers were supplied with headlamps and continued their hike out to the trailhead.

Town of Newcomb
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 5 at 12:05 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a man reporting that his ex-wife was injured while hiking in the Santanoni range. He stated that he received a text message from the woman saying she had fallen and hit her head. She reported bleeding and told him that she was on her way back to the trailhead. Forest Ranger Jamison Martin and Assistant Forest Ranger Brendan Jackson responded to assist. At 2:22 pm, Forest Ranger Martin advised that they were with the 41-year-old hiker from Red Hook and on their way out. Once back at the Bradley Pond trailhead, they were met by Newcomb EMS, which transported the woman to a local hospital for further medical treatment. All units were clear of the scene by 3 pm.

Hamilton County

Town of Inlet
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 5 at 1:25 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call requesting assistance for a 59-year-old female from Buffalo who dislocated her ankle while descending Rocky Mountain. Forest Ranger Robert Coscomb responded and located the woman, stabilizing her injury. Additional resources were requested. Lt. Scott Murphy, Gary Miller, and Matthew Savarie and members of the Inlet and Old Forge Fire departments arrived to assist. The woman was carried out in a rescue litter to the trailhead and transferred to Inlet EMS, where she was transported to a local hospital for medical treatment.

Herkimer County

Town of Webb
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 1 at 7:57 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Herkimer County 911 requesting Forest Ranger assistance rescuing a 59-year-old woman from Oneida who became stranded during heavy rains on the cliff ledges on the east side of Bald Mountain. Forest Rangers Matthew Savarie, Gary Miller, and Luke Evans responded and brought gear to execute a high-angle rope rescue. At 8:45 pm, Forest Rangers located the woman and were assisted by Old Forge and Eagle Bay Fire Departments getting the woman and her dog the few hundred feet back up to the trail, where they were escorted back to the trailhead.

Town of Webb
Wilderness Rescue: On Oct. 5 at 1:37 pm, Herkimer County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch advising of a 73-year-old man from Central Square with an unstable knee injury on the Bald Mountain trail. Lt. Scott Murphy arrived on scene along with Old Forge and Eagle Bay fire departments and headed up the trail, locating him at 2:12 pm a quarter of the way up. The man was placed in a rescue litter and rope rescue gear was used to lower him down 100 feet of rock face. At the trailhead, the injured man was evaluated by Old Forge Ambulance and he refused further medical care.

Last week’s highlights failed to mention additional agencies that assisted Forest Rangers on a rescue. The following is the corrected version:

St. Lawrence County

Town of Hopkinton
Wilderness Rescue: On Sept. 27 at 1:26 pm, the NYSP contacted DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch requesting a Forest Ranger hoist operator to assist with the rescue of a 25-year-old female at the bottom of a cliff with two possible leg fractures. Forest Rangers Robert Praczkajlo and Kevin Burns responded to the Adirondack Regional Airport to be transported by helicopter to the incident location. The woman was located in the St. Regis River after she had fallen off a cliff trying to rescue her dog, who had fallen halfway down. Forest Ranger Praczkajlo was inserted at the top of the cliff with a litter and climbed down to the woman. After assessing the situation, he determined a rope rescue was the safest way to evacuate the subject. Once the woman was stabilized, a high angle rope rescue system was set up by Forest Ranger Praczkajlo and Franklin County Technical Rescue Team with the assistance from Tri Town Rescue. Back at the top of the cliff, a UTV brought the woman to a waiting ambulance. Forest Ranger Praczkajlo then rappelled down and rescued the subject’s dog. The dog was raised with ropes by the assisting fire departments from both St. Lawrence and Franklin counties and turned over to family members. The woman was transported by Tri Town Rescue to an area hospital.

Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage and Adirondack Trail Information webpage for more information about where you intend to travel. The Adirondack Almanack reports weekly Outdoor Conditions each Thursday afternoon.

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4 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    We can’t say it enough- great job!

  2. Vanessa says:

    With the number of people we saw out on the trails on the 5th, I’m fudging *amazed that no one else rolled an ankle or otherwise had problems that required rangers in the high peaks. feel super bad that you guys were relegated to parking enforcement. not an ideal situation at all.

  3. Tim says:

    “Pre-existing heart condition” on Colden??!!

    • Marty says:

      There are real accidents and then there is stupidity and stupid people need to get the bill for the rescue.

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