Police respond to hiking mishaps

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BENNINGTON — Police and rescue personnel responded to two hiking-related incidents over the weekend, one involving a fall from Prospect Rock in Manchester on Saturday, the other a lost hiker in Pownal on Sunday.

Pownal

A hiker lost in falling temperatures in the vicinity of the Broad Brook Trail in Pownal was located after a search Sunday night.

Trooper Raymond Witkowski said state police, the VSP Search and Rescue Team, Vermont Fish and Game, the Pownal Fire Department, Pownal Valley Fire Department, Pownal Rescue Squad and Williamstown (Mass.) Forestry responded.

The person, whose name was not provided, was reported lost off the trail, without sufficient clothing in rapidly decreasing temperatures. The area is near the Williamstown border.

Troopers and game wardens entered the forest on foot, Witkowski said, and located the person approximately one mile from the incident command post. The victim was found to be suffering from hypothermia, but was otherwise uninjured.

The victim was stabilized by EMS on scene before being released to family members.                         

Manchester

A hiker was successfully rescued after falling from Prospect Rock Saturday.

Though the hiker's name and condition has not been made public, she was successfully evacuated from the base of Prospect Rock and airlifted to Albany Medical Center following efforts from multiple local departments including the Manchester Fire DeparTment, the Manchester Police Department, and the Manchester Rescue Squad alongside responders from surrounding towns.

"The Manchester Police Department got the initial call; apparently she slipped off of the rock," said Chief Philip Bourn of the Manchester Fire Department. "Luckily she had a cell phone with her, so we dialed in the coordinates and found out where she was."

Slick rocks and rainy weather on Saturday complicated the rescue effort, though responders effectively navigated the difficult conditions.

"We had numerous agencies out there including Dorset, East Dorset, and Arlington," said Bourn. "Everyone up there did a fantastic job getting to her when it was raining out and slippery."

The hiker did not fall the full distance from the rock, according to Bourn, but landed on a ledge below the precipice. Responders reached her by rope initially to stabilize her, and she was then brought around the rock and back up to the trail.

"I've been on that rock, and I think everybody is really weary about getting near the edge of it," said Bourn. "If she didn't land on the ledge, that's 300 feet to the bottom of the ravine."

After being evacuated from the base of Prospect Rock, the hiker was secured to a gurney and brought out of the trail utilizing all-terrain vehicles. She was then airlifted to Albany Medical Center via helicopter.

"We've done rescues on hiking trails like Lye Brook Falls when people slip, but nothing like this," said Bourn. "We train for this, but it never usually happens. I was very happy with the crew we had out there."


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