On Monday, August 29, rescuers from across New Hampshire teamed up to help two separate hikers who got injured on the same trail in the White Mountains.
At approximately 9:20 a.m., New Hampshire Fish and Game Department officials were notified of a hiker on the Crawford Path near Mount Eisenhower who had sustained a severe lower leg injury.
According to information relayed by another hiker, authorities learned that Rachel Wild, 29, of Sanford, North Carolina, had sustained the injury and was left unable to walk near the intersection of Crawford Path and the Eisenhower Loop Trail (a distance of almost four miles from the nearest road). Upon receiving this information, Fish and Game reached out to the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) requesting assistance. AMC was able to provide two volunteers who hiked from the Mizpah Hut to the patient’s location and provided updated information.
Due to the remoteness of Wild’s location and the mountainous terrain surrounding it, Fish and Game reached out to many additional resources. Along with six conservation officers, rescuers from Twin Mountain Fire and EMS, AMC, Lakes Region Search and Rescue, and the Army National Guard responded to the area. Ground crews began the long hike to the scene while a Guard helicopter and crew responded from Concord.
Although hot, weather conditions were favorable for rescue crews. The Guard helicopter was able to fly to the area around Mount Eisenhower, and using GPS coordinates provided by AMC personnel, was able to locate Wild at the scene or her injury.
With the aid of a hoist and highly trained personnel, the helicopter crew was able to extract Wild from the mountainside and bring her safely to a landing zone in Crawford Notch, arriving at approximately 1:30 p.m. Once roadside, Wild was transported by Twin Mountain Ambulance to Littleton Regional Hospital for further evaluation and treatment of injuries.
While ground crews were hiking toward Wild’s location, they came upon 32-year-old Carmen Figuroa of Boca Raton, Florida, who had sustained a lower leg injury approximately a mile up the Crawford Path from Mount Clinton Road.
Figuroa had not made a call for help, but was injured and in need of assistance. After being provided first aid, Figuroa was able to hobble down the trail with the assistance of conservation officers and Lakes Region Search and Rescue Team personnel. Figuroa stayed persistent and was able to make it to the road at approximately 12:45 p.m. Once roadside, she was transported from the scene by a friend to seek medical treatment.
Both hikers were found to be very experienced and were prepared for their hikes. Wild had been hiking the Appalachian Trail for over five months straight, and had made it to the Crawford Path all the way from Georgia. She commented on New Hampshire’s terrain, saying that it was certainly more difficult than hundreds of miles of trail that she had hiked up to that point.
Due to the motivation and professionalism of all the rescue personnel involved in the day’s calls, two visitors in need were helped in a timely manner and brought to care by a statewide group who worked together nearly flawlessly.