Bigelow Search 7-29-2014
FSAR was notified by the MASAR duty officer around 4:30 p.m. today that MWS Kevin Adams was requesting that all available FSAR team members respond to the A.T. trailhead on Rt. 27 immediately.
An 18 y.o. male was hiking with his Outward Bound program southbound on the A.T. when he became separated from his group.
6 FSAR team members responded to the trailhead just north of Sugarloaf and met up with MWS Scott Stevens and Reggie Hammond. A search plan was developed that covered the 4 most likely trails that the lost person could be on. We divided into 3 teams as Warden Hammond had already swept and eliminated 1 possible trail. The 3 FSAR teams headed northbound from the Stratton Brook Pond Rd 1. up the A.T. toward the Bigelow Range Trail. 2. toward Horns Pond and 3. up the fire warden's trail to Bigelow col.
ABout an hour after beginning the search, Seb and Marc who were on the A.T. encountered some southbound hikers and interviewed them. Seb had (very smartly) taken a screenshot of Scott Steven’s laptop that included an image of the missing person. The hikers confirmed that they had passed him someplace between West Peak and Horns Pond. He was moving slowly and they gave him some water as he was out. After a radio conference the 3 teams decided to continue with the original plan as the missing man could decide to take the side trail at Horns pond down to the Stratton Brook Pond road and we wanted to sweep the ridge trail from West Peak.
At approximately 2.5 hours into the search (around 8 p.m.) Seb and Marc reached the Bigelow Ridge trail and took a short break. Soon after the missing man met up with them. FSAR team members conducted an interview with the man to assess his condition and needs. He was scared, had run out of water, was very hungry and darkness was nearly upon him and he had no flashlight. He consumed 3 liters of water, 3 cliff bars and more!! After a short rest the crew began the slow descent off the mountain.
Just after 10 p.m. the crew reached the parking area on the Stratton Brook Pond Road. He was met by a director from the Outward Bound Program and 2 other wardens who briefly interviewed him. No medical assistance was needed so all rescuers headed for home.
There were no reported injuries during the successful mission.
Account written by Steve Mitman, FSAR Secretary.
Marc prepares to hit the trail.
After recent rains, the Stratton Brook was high enough that we had to take our boots off to ford it.
Jim and Scott discuss the search plan.
Much of the communication between teams was conducted by cell phone.
A beautiful evening for a search!
At the junction of the Horns Pond trail and the Firewardens trail 2 team split up.
Seb and Marc debrief with the other rescuers on their return to the trailhead. Mission accomplished, way to go FSAR!