New Hampshire Fish and Game officials say rescue crews who endured high winds and torrential rain to rescue an injured Michigan hiker in the White Mountains likely saved his life.
Fifty-nine-year-old Edward Bacon of Northville, Mich., was on the third day of a five-day solo hike around Franconia Notch when he fell Tuesday afternoon and seriously injured his hip.
Bacon crawled to an area where he was able to get brief cell phone reception and called both 911 and the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) Lodge in Pinkham Notch.
He was equipped with backpacking gear, although his tent had blown away in the fierce winds.
Bacon was able to climb into his sleeping bag to stay warm, as he was becoming hypothermic from the rain and high winds while awaiting rescuers.
AMC initially sent out a rescuer to try to find Bacon, but high winds forced that individual to turn back.
~Photo courtesy of NH Fish and Game~
A second team reached Bacon around 6:20 p.m., followed soon after by New Hampshire Fish and Game officers and volunteers.
Facing wind gusts of 80 mph and swollen rivers and streams, rescuers carried the injured man out of the wilderness.
Bacon was secured on a litter for his trip down the mountain.
The rescue team didn't reach the trailhead until after 3 a.m. Wednesday where Bacon was then transported by ambulance to the hospital.
"I want to commend the Herculean effort of all the participating search teams working through the night in very difficult conditions and rugged terrain to carry this man to safety. Most likely, they saved his life," said Fish and Game Lt. James Kneeland.
Kneeland said that conditions were changing fast in New Hampshire's mountains.
Hikers are advised to carry lights, extra clothing and appropriate gear for a variety of weather conditions, especially at higher altitudes.
It is also critical to check on and heed weather forecasts before heading out.
For more about hiking safety, including the ten essentials to have in your pack visit www.hikesafe.com.