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Entries Tagged as 'accident'

Governor Cuomo Recognizes Forest Rangers Involved in Plane Crash Rescue Last Week

February 27th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today recognized the nine Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers and the dispatcher involved in the rescue of three men whose plane crashed in the Adirondack Mountains last week. Governor Cuomo commended the men and woman for their heroic efforts to save the lives of the survivors in sub-zero temperatures.

Big Burn Mountain, near Lake Placid

“The actions of these Forest Rangers exemplify the unwavering dedication and tireless commitment of the men and women charged with keeping New Yorkers and those who visit our state safe,” Governor Cuomo said. “These Forest Rangers saved lives and should be commended for their bravery and service to New York State.”

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said, “Last week’s rescue of three plane crash survivors is just the latest example of how vital our Forest Rangers are when a crisis strikes. They are specially trained and they are special men and women. I’m very proud of the heroism and dedication of our Forest Rangers.”

The Forest Rangers, all based out of DEC’s Region 5 office in Ray Brook, recognized by Governor Cuomo are:

  • Forest Ranger Lt. Charles Platt, nearly 20 years as a Forest Ranger
  • Forest Ranger Kevin Burns, 14 years of service as a Forest Ranger
  • Forest Ranger Peter Evans, 14 years of service as a Forest Ranger
  • Forest Ranger James Giglinto, 17 years of service as a Forest Ranger
  • Forest Ranger Thomas Gliddi, 16 years of service as a Forest Ranger
  • Forest Ranger Chris Kostoss, 14 years of service as a Forest Ranger
  • Forest Ranger Joseph LaPierre, 14 years of service as a Forest Ranger
  • Forest Ranger David Russell, 8 years of service as a Forest Ranger
  • Forest Ranger Scott VanLaer, 16 years of service as a Forest Ranger
  • Dispatcher Alicia Bodmer, 16 years as a Dispatcher

Information on the rescue

At 6:32 p.m. DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook was contacted by State Police seeking Forest Ranger response to a plane crash in a wooded area near the Lake Placid Airport. Temperatures were in the single digits and fell to sub-zero overnight.

Essex County 911 was in contact with the three male occupants of the airplane all of Westfield, NJ who indicated they were in good condition. They provided coordinates of the crash site which were relayed to DEC Dispatch. When the coordinates were plotted on a map the site of the plane crash was near the summit of Nye Mountain, a trail-less High Peak just west of the Adirondack Loj.

Two DEC Forest Rangers initially responded to the Mount Jo Trailhead on the Adirondack Loj road and headed to the crash site on snowshoes and carrying cold weather gear for the crash victims. A second team of four Forest Rangers started a short while later carrying equipment for evacuating the three men.

A helicopter from the State Police Aviation Unit was also dispatched from the Lake Clear Airport but at 7:35 pm advised that they were unable to reach the crash site due to weather and darkness.

A Forest Ranger was in direct phone contact with the men at the crash site. They reported they had erected a tarp as a temporary shelter and put on extra clothing to attempt to stay warm.

At 10:50 pm Forest Rangers concluded that Nye Mountain location was not the correct location. At about this same time the first two Forest Rangers had hiked three miles to the crash site and confirmed there was no airplane present. Ranger determined the original coordinates were provided in atypical format. Plotting the coordinates in the standard format, Rangers determined the crash site was actually just west of Lake Placid near Big Burn Mountain.

The second group of forest rangers was redirected from Nye Mountain to Big Burn Mountain where they were joined by a another ranger. The Forest Rangers were able to reach the crash site by snowmobile via the Jack Rabbit Trail and bushwhacking on snowshoes the last half mile. The crash site was one mile from the road. The three men were located by the Forest Rangers at 1:55 a.m. The men were evacuated by snowmobile to the Whiteface Inn Road Trailhead where they were evaluated by the Lake Placid Rescue Squad. It was determined the men were fine and they declined any further medical treatment or transport.

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New York State Police investigate fatal rafting accident

September 28th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Guide was intoxicated

New York State PoliceOn September 27, 2012, at approximately 12:00 p.m., New York State Police from Indian Lake and Ray Brook responded to Chain Lakes Road in the town of Indian Lake for a report of a missing rafter. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation personnel, as well as members of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, Indian Lake rescue squad, and Indian Lake Fire Department also responded to assist in the investigation.

Investigation revealed that Rory F. Fay, age 37, of North Creek, New York, was operating a raft on the Indian River as a New York State licensed guide, employed by the Hudson River Rafting Company. Fay had two passengers in the raft with him who were identified as Richard J. Clar, age 53, and Tamara F. Blake, age 53, both of Colombus, Ohio. At approximately 10:20 a.m., and while on the Indian River, Fay and Blake were ejected from the raft in whitewater conditions. Clar was able to stay within the raft and eventually steer it to the shoreline. Fay was able to swim to the shoreline. Clar and Fay walked to Chain Lakes Road where they were able to obtain assistance. Blake was unable to be located and authorities were notified.

New York State Police Aviation was utilized to search the river and Blake’s body was discovered approximately five miles down stream in the Hudson River. Essex County Coroner Walter Marvin Jr. authorized transport of Blake’s body by State Police and NYS DEC personnel to Chain Lakes Road. Marvin transported the body to the Adirondack Medical Center Morgue in Saranac Lake, New York, for an autopsy scheduled to be conducted on September 28, 2012.

State Police determined that Rory Fay was intoxicated while transporting Clar and Blake on the rafting trip. State Police consulted with Hamilton County District Attorney Marsha Purdue and Fay was arrested for Criminally Negligent Homicide regarding the death of Blake. Fay was subsequently arraigned before Indian Lake Town Justice Judy Durken and remanded to the Hamilton County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail or $100,000 bond.

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DEC Region 5 Winter Search and Rescue Report

March 1st, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoEssex County
Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area
On Monday, December 26, 2011, at approximately 11:40 pm, DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting an overdue hiker on or near Mt. Colden. Ronnie Cusmano, 55, of Valhalla, NY, was hiking from the Upper Works Trailhead to Mt. Colden. He routinely used his personal locator device to notify his wife upon completion of his hikes. Mr. Cusmano’s wife had not heard from him and was concerned. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and began searching on the trails south of Mt. Colden. At approximately 3:30am the following morning, the Forest Ranger located Mr. Cusmano in good health at the Herbert Brook Lean-to along the path up Mount Marshall. Always inform someone of your itinerary and stick to it.

Town of Elizabethtown, Hurricane Mountain Wilderness
On Wednesday, December 28, 2011, at approximately 8:52 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an overdue hiker on Hurricane Mountain. Clifford Reiter, 54, had started up Hurricane Mountain looking for his two adult sons who were overdue from hiking the mountain. Not aware that his sons had already exited the trail and signed out on the trail register, Mr. Reiter proceeded to search for them. Mr. Reiter’s wife became concerned due to the extreme cold temperatures and called for assistance. Meanwhile, the two sons went back up the trail to search for their father. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located all three men in good conditions at 9:30 pm. Call DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 when you believe someone may be lost or injured in the backcountry.

Town of Newcomb, Camp Santanoni Historic Area
On Saturday, January 14, 2012, at approximately 4:00 pm, while on routine state land patrol, a DEC Forest Ranger came upon an injured skier on the Newcomb Lake Road. Barbara Taylor, 58, of Long Lake, NY, had fallen and injured her shoulder and ankle. She was exhausted and needed assistance getting out. The Forest Ranger splinted her injured ankle and evacuated Ms. Taylor by rescue toboggan. At 5:30 pm Ms. Taylor was returned to the trailhead parking areas where she indicated she would seek further medical treatment on her own. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Keene, Giant Mountain Wilderness Area
On Saturday, January 21, 2012, at approximately 1:36 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker. Ruby Sulley, 58, of Keeseville, NY, was hiking between Hopkins and Giant Mountains, when she fell and suffered a leg injury near the Giant Mountain lean-to at 12:00p.m. Her hiking companions contacted Ray Brook Dispatch and two DEC Forest Rangers responded. Upon reaching Ms. Sulley, they assisted her as she continued to hike out. They reached the trailhead at 5:30 pm where Ms. Sulley indicated she would seek further medical attention on her own. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Keene, Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area
On Saturday, January 21, 2012, at approximately 2:18 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker. Kevin Cox, 61, of Troy, NY, was snowshoeing with a group of eight when he twisted his knee near the summit of Lower Wolfjaw. State Police Aviation was unavailable due to potential for blowing snow; and snowmobiles were unable to be used due to lack of snow. Temperatures hovered near zero and below during the rescue. Members of the hiking party had been assisting Mr. Cox by “sliding” him down when he was unable to walk. Seven DEC Forest Rangers responded from the Garden Trailhead in Keene Valley with a rescue sled and met the group at 6:50 pm, approximately 1/4 mile above the Wolfjaw lean-to. Mr. Cox was brought to the Garden parking area at approximately 11:10 pm and the group indicated they would transport Mr. Cox and obtain further medical attention. Dress properly with layers of wool and fleece (NOT COTTON!) clothing: a wool or fleece hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area
On Saturday, February 25, 2012, at approximately 4:50 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a cell phone call from Mike Jones, 42, of Andover, CT, that was transferred from Essex County 911. Mr. Jones reported that he had attempted to hike to the top of Algonquin Mountain on Friday afternoon when he was forced off the trail by high winds and snow. He had bushwhacked down a drainage area and spent the night in hole in the snow. In the morning he continued downhill until he encountered a trail marker and was able to obtain cell phone service. He had no idea where he was and stated he was wet and very cold. Mr. Jones also indicated that he was visiting the area by himself and had not told anyone of his plans to climb Algonquin Mountain, therefore nobody had, or could have, reported him missing.

DEC Dispatch worked with Essex County 911 to obtain Mr. Jone*s cell phone coordinates. It was determined that hes was on the Indian Pass Trail southwest of Rocky Falls approximately 2.5 miles from the trailhead at Adirondack Loj. Three Forest Rangers responded, snowmobiling part of the way down the trail and then skiing the remainder of the way. Deep fresh snow required the Forest Rangers to break trail while on skis. They reached Mr. Jones at 6:42 pm.

Mr. Jones had lost most of his gear and some of his clothing during the night. He appeared to be suffering from hypothermia and frostbite to his hands and feet. After feeding, clothing and warming him, the Forest Rangers helped walk him back to the snowmobile and then transported him by snowmobile to the South Meadow Road. He was transferred to the Lake Placid Rescue Squad at 8:37 pm and transported to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid for further medical evaluation and treatment.

Never travel alone and always inform someone of your intended route and return time. Check weather before entering the woods – if the weather is poor, postpone your trip. Be aware of weather conditions at all times – if the weather worsens, head out of the woods. Be prepared to spend an unexpected night in the woods pack plenty of food and water, extra clothing, flashlight/headlamp, ensolite pads, stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blanket.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area
On Saturday, February 25, 2012, at approximately 7:30 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from the wife of Brian Sullivan, 62, of Brooklyn,NY, reporting him overdue. Mr. Sullivan had left from The Garden trailhead at 10:30 am and planned to ski to the Mt. VanHovenburg Ski Center at the Olympic Sports Complex via Johns Brook, the Klondike Notch Trail and the Mr. Van Trail.Staff from the ski center patrolled the nearby portions of the Mr. Van Trail but had not seen Mr. Sullivan.

Seven DEC Forest Rangers responded and began searching from the two ends of Mr. Sullivan’s planned route. A Forest Ranger on a snowmobile on the South Meadow Road heard shouting shortly before 9 pm. He stopped, turned off the snowmobile and took off his helmet allowing him to clearly hear Mr. Sullivan*s shouts from the other side of South Meadow Brook. The Forest Ranger directed Mr. Sullivan across the brook, met up with him and found that he was in good condition. He was transported by snowmobile to the Adirondack Loj and reunited with his family at 9:30 pm. Know your route, the terrain and your physical capabilities – remember it takes more time and energy to travel through snow than it does on bare ground. Check the DEC Adirondack Trail Information webpage at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7865.html for information on the latest conditions, weather and trail closures and reroutes.

Town of Keene, High Peaks Wilderness Area
On Saturday, February 25, 2012, at approximately 11:38 pm, DEC Central Dispatch received a call from the girlfriend of Matthew Bradley, 36, of Lee, MA, reporting him overdue. He had left from the Garden Trailhead on Saturday, planning to snowshoe to the summit of Mt. Marcy via Johns Brook and either the Phelps Trail or the Hopkins Trail. He then planned to continue to Adirondack Loj Trailhead via the VanHovenberg Trail.

Eleven Forest Rangers, including three Forest Rangers who had participated in the previous two searches, responded and searched through the night. DEC Central Dispatch had very limited and sporadic cell phone contact with Mr. Bradley because his cell phone battery was dying. Dispatchers were unable to get location information from him or obtain the coordinates of his cell phone. At 5 am Mr. Bradley was able to place a quick call from his cell phone and provide the coordinates from his GPS. Forest Rangers determined that he was off trail in a drainage area on the southwestern slopes of Table Top Mountain.

Forest Rangers reached Mr. Bradley at approximately 9:20 am. He had moderate hypothermia and possible frostbite. Forest Rangers provided him food and then escorted him to an open area for retrieval. Mr. Bradley was hoisted into a State Police Aviation Unit helicopter with a Forest Ranger operating the hoist and transported to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for further medical evaluation and treatment. Know your route, the terrain and your physical capabilities – remember it takes more time and energy to travel through snow than it does on bare ground. Be prepared to spend an unexpected night in the woods pack plenty of food and water, extra clothing, flashlight/headlamp, ensolite pads, stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blanket.

Franklin County
Town of Brighton, Private Land
On Friday, January 6, 2012, at approximately 3:40 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Franklin County 911 reporting two skiers lost on the trails at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC). James Mort, 61 and Patricia Mort, 57, both of Red Hook, NY, had skied off the main trail system and were at a gazebo on the far side of a secondary trail system. They declined the option of following their tracks back to the main trail or out to the road and back to the VIC, due to exhaustion and lack of lights. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the couple. They were escorted out to the road and transported back to the VIC. Know your route, the terrain and your physical capabilities. Always carry a light, a map and a compass.

Hamilton County
Town of Lake Pleasant, Jessup River Wild Forest
On Saturday, February 11, 2012, at approximately 2:00 pm, a DEC Forest Ranger was notified of an injured snowmobiler on the Perkins Clearing Easement Trail. Dave Gervald, 32, of Wayne, NJ, was traveling too fast for conditions, when he struck a tree and was ejected from his machine. He suffered severe leg lacerations and also complained of back pain. Two DEC Forest Rangers and two DEC Environmental Conservation Officers responded along with Speculator Rescue, Hamilton County Sheriff, and New York State Police. Mr. Gervald was backboarded, packaged and transported by snowmobile 6 miles to the waiting ambulance. He was then transported to Mason-Latour Hospital in Gloversville for medical treatment. Know your abilities and travel at reasonable speeds when driving snowmobiles. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in emergencies.

Town of Indian Lake, Blue Mountain Wild Forest
On Saturday, February 18, 2012, Lars Jackson, 45, of Pelham Manor, NY, had hiked with a group of Boy Scouts to the top of Blue Mountain in the Town of Indian Lake Hamilton County when he went into cardiac arrest. Hamilton County 911 contacted DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook at 1:40 pm to report the situation. They indicated that cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was being administered by members of Mr. Lars group.

DEC Forest Rangers, Blue Mountain Lake Rescue, Indian Lake Rescue, and Indian Lake Fire & Rescue responded to the incident. A DEC Forest Ranger arrived at 2:20 pm to observe that CPR had been continuing for approximately 1 hour. CPR continued while an automated external defibrillator was applied to no avail. CPR was discontinued at 2:27 pm. The State Police and the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office were notified. Mr. Jackson was pronounced dead by the coroner. Contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Indian Lake, Blue Ridge Wilderness Area
On Sunday, February 26, 2012, at approximately 3:36 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office, reporting lost hikers on the Cedar River Loop trail system. Irwin Nathonson, 64, and Julie Nathonson, 62, both of Diamond Point, NY, had not crossed the Cedar River Road and became lost. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded and each began searching on a different section of the trail system. At 4:53 pm the Mr. and Mrs. Nathonson were located in good health. They were transported out on snowmobiles and returned to their vehicle. Carry a map and compass and know how to use them.

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Fall Search and Rescue Report

November 1st, 2011 · 2 Comments · News

This latest report is courtesy of NYSDEC – Region 5.

  • 40 incidents in this report – 17 of which were “Lost or Overdue”
  • Apparent bonking on Marcy and Giant Mts. One group left for Marcy at 9am with 1 liter of water for 2 people and “became extremely dehydrated”.
  • Injuries – 8 leg, 1 arm, 1 head
  • Cellphones – Yes. Map and Compass, Flashlight – No
  • I’m not sure what happened on Round Mt trail
  • Word of Life vs. Devil’s Ledge
  • Not too cold to call for helicopter rescue
  • Dad ditches tired kayaker son

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Forest Ranger Mid-Summer Search and Rescue Report

August 17th, 2011 · 1 Comment · News

Sadly, our normal selection of Summertime incidents includes two deaths in the High Peaks. At least we are not Yosemite.

  • 2 Heart-attacks in High Peaks
  • “Lost” at Fish Creek Campground
  • Lost at Round Lake
  • Thirsty on Ampersand (Boy Scouts)
  • Capsized paddlers hike NPT – no shoes, no food
  • Lots of Leg Injuries while hiking
  • Kayaker drowns on Lake Pleasant – PFD issue
  • Lost and Unprepared on Crane Mt, Buck Mt – after dark, no flashlight, no food, no map
  • Boat sinks in Log Bay
  • Kayakers lost after-dark on Lake George
  • Slip n’ Falls off Shelving Rock Falls

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DEC Spring Search and Rescue Report

June 24th, 2011 · No Comments · News

NYSDEC LogoThe NYSDEC rangers were quite busy this Spring with a bunch of search and rescues. We are very lucky to have this safety-net.

Quite the collection of incidents in this latest report, many related to sketchy conditions due to late-season snow, rain, and high-water.

  • “Cotton almost Kills” unprepared hiker on Mt Marcy
  • Snowmobiler hits log bridge – endo
  • No Flashlight, washed-out bridge, makes for a long night.
  • High water thwarts left-behind hiker on Mt Marcy
  • Carrying exhausted-dog on Dix Mt causes same for owner.
  • Slip ‘n Fall on Poke-o-Moonshine
  • City-hikers bonk on Whiteface
  • Trapped on the Dyke (this is a common story)
  • Hurt leg at near Wallface – cool place, but tough for rescue
  • Slipped-knot results in fall at Chapel Pond
  • Another City-hiker, bonked on Algonquin Mt
  • Blowdown adventure off the Sewards
  • 4 year old lost for a couple hours at Sacandaga Lake
  • Various kayakers encounter whitewater
  • Father and son lost on Black Mt
  • Black-fly Bike-crash
  • Another leg-injury on Hadley Mt
  • Unknown medical on Tongue Mt

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Autumn-Action in the Adirondacks

October 27th, 2010 · 2 Comments · News

The AdirondacksNothing serious in the latest DEC activity report. Sounds like they were busy. Here are the highlights:

  • Various ailments in the High Peaks
  • Falling on Phelps, Ampersand, Snowy, Owl
  • Broken elevator and trapped on Whiteface Summit
  • Missed “Spot Locator” signal results in Search
  • “Rescue” on Mt. Jo
  • Boy Scouts….Not Prepared
  • Lost….near Lost Pond
  • Various other lost hikers and hunters
  • “growing up in the city you never holler back” (uh…ok.)

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