FRANCONIA, N.H. (AP) – Rescue crews who carried an injured hiker for four miles through torrential rain and high wind in New Hampshire’s White Mountains likely saved the Michigan man’s life, Fish and Game officials said Wednesday.
Edward Bacon, 59, 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. Authorities said Bacon crawled to an area where he was able to get brief cell phone reception and called for help. Though Bacon was well equipped, his tent had blown away. Rain-soaked and pummeled by the wind, he climbed into his sleeping bag while awaiting rescuers, officials said.
The first responder from the Appalachian Mountain Club was forced back by wind, but a second team of two AMC staffers reached Bacon around 6:20 p.m. Fish and Game officers and Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue volunteers arrived soon after, and crews began the long process of carrying Bacon 3.9 miles to the trailhead.
Around 10 p.m., what had been steady rain became a torrential downpour. Rescuers carried Bacon down the Falling Waters Trail, normally recommended only for ascending the mountain because of its steepness. Mountain Rescue Service volunteers used ropes to help with several difficult brook crossings, and rescuers finally reached the trailhead at 3:20 a.m.
“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, who noted that conditions are changing fast in the mountains this time of year.
Bacon was in stable condition Wednesday afternoon at Littleton Regional Hospital.
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