Hoping to clear up misinformation and to paint a picture of exactly how difficult it can be for rescuers to locate a missing hiker, one of the people involved in searching for hiker Geraldine “Gerry” Largay recently gave a first-person account of the search.
Largay, a 66-year-old hiker from Tennessee, was hiking the Appalachian Trail in western Maine in the summer of 2013. She was reportedly last seen by other hikers the morning of July 22, 2013, and she was supposed to meet her husband at Baxter State Park the next day. But she disappeared without a trace. Her remains weren’t discovered until October 2015 in Redington Township, Maine.
A journal discovered with Largay showed she survived for 26 days lost in the woods.
The first-person account of the search was written for the Bangor Daily News by Jim Bridge, a search team leader and wilderness first responder who is on the Board of Directors for the Maine Association of Search and Rescue.
“After Largay’s body was discovered, I read and heard a lot of misinformation about what searchers should be able to do,” said Bridge. “I’d now like to make it clear what happened when we went looking for Largay, and how searchers do their jobs.”
Bridge paints a picture of rescuers spending endless hours trying to piece together what might have happened to Largay, being misdirected by bad information, and braving treacherous terrain that included banks with steep, loose rocks, 40-foot drop-offs and thick underbrush.