DEC search and rescue report

RAY BROOK – The following report was recently released by the state Department of Environmental Conservation:

Bird hunters lose their way

On Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, at approximately 7:15 p.m., DEC dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting two lost hunters. Robert Wood, 79, and his 13-year-old grandson, both of Saranac, became lost while bird hunting on private property by taking the wrong logging road. Two DEC forest rangers responded with members of the Saranac and AuSable Forks fire departments and began searching the area. Wood followed a swamp back to the road and was located by fire department personnel close to the roadway at approximately 9:50 p.m. The 13-year-old was treated for mild hypothermia and released.

Ice bridge collapses on return trip

On Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, at approximately 11:58 p.m., state Department of Environmental Conservation’s central dispatch in Albany received a call reporting an overdue group of hikers. Two DEC forest rangers responded to the area and began searching. Joseph LaLuna, 41 of Queensbury; Jack Webb, 30, of Fort Ann; Scott Sullivan, 55, of Glens Falls; Chris Sullivan, 28, of Kingsbury; Ken Howe, 52, of Granville; and Paul Pruiksma, 46, of Greenwich, left the East River trailhead that morning at 8 a.m. to hike Allen Mountain. They crossed the Opalescent River via an ice bridge in the morning but upon their return the ice bridge had been swept away and the river was deeper with a raging current. The group backtracked to a road and located an unlocked shelter where they stayed to warm up. At 2:43 a.m. the group was located by a forest ranger and found to be in good condition. Forest rangers shuttled the group back to their vehicle two at a time by snowmobile and all were clear of the scene by 5:30 a.m.

Bushwack takes longer than expected

On Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, at approximately 10:05 p.m., DEC dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting two overdue hikers. Anthony Salvarezza, 52, and Richard Salvarezza, 21, both of Queensbury, planned to hike Saddleback and Basin Mountains that day. Three DEC forest rangers responded and found the Salvarezza’s vehicle at the Garden parking lot. Shortly thereafter both hikers were located in good health approximately 0.25 mile from the trailhead. Difficult trail conditions and an attempt to bushwhack up Basin Mountain prolonged their day.

Ice climber injured after major fall

On Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, at approximately 2:41 p.m., DEC dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured ice climber. Thomas Yandon, 68, of East Amherst, was ice climbing in the Chapel Pond canyon when he fell approximately 30 feet to the base of the route and then slid another 40 feet. Eight forest rangers responded along with Keene Valley EMS. Yandon had multiple injuries and required stabilization. He was backboarded by the forest rangers and carried out to an awaiting ambulance where he was transported to Elizabethtown Community Hospital.

Cramping hiker calls for assistance

On Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, at approximately 3:33 p.m., DEC dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a hiker in need of assistance. Travis Callahan, 32, of Philadelphia, N.Y., was descending Whiteface Mountain when he began experiencing severe leg cramps. Outdoor temperatures were dropping into the single digits at that time. Two DEC forest rangers responded and evacuated Callahan by snowmobile. He was rehydrated and sought further medical treatment on his own.

Darkness leads to lost trail

On Wednesday, Jan. 1, at approximately 1:12 a.m., DEC central dispatch in Albany received a call reporting an overdue hiker. David Dick, 35, of Ontario, Canada, was hiking Giant Mountain when darkness overcame him. Without a light, he soon lost the trail. Three DEC forest rangers responded and began searching the mountain. At 5:17 a.m., forest rangers made voice contact with Dick, and at 7:27 a.m. they found him near the ledges on the Nubble Switchback. Dick was warmed, hydrated and escorted out of the woods. He declined further medical attention and everyone was clear of the scene at 9:17 a.m.

Missing man found in camper

On Wednesday, Jan. 15, at approximately 3:46 p.m., DEC dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office requesting assistance for a missing person. George Heide, 63, of Bleeker, was missing for approximately four hours after saying goodbye to his family and walking into the woods. Two DEC forest rangers responded and located Heide at approximately 6 p.m. inside an unlocked camper. He was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital for further evaluation.

Hikers lose trail to avoid ice

On Wednesday, Jan. 15 at approximately 5:03 p.m., DEC dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting two lost hikers on Buck Mountain in the Lake George Wild Forest. The hikers, Emma Rozell, 18, of Granville, and Megan Weaver, 18, of Hudson Falls, were in good health but had lost the trail. Four DEC forest rangers responded while the Ray Brook dispatch and Washington County 911 were able to obtain their cell phone coordinates. At 7:30 p.m. a forest ranger located them in good condition. Rozell and Weaver had been trying to avoid icy conditions on the trail when they became lost without a map or compass. They were escorted back to their vehicles and returned to the trailhead at 8:45 p.m.

‘Desperately lost’ snowmobiler

On Wednesday, March 5, at approximately 7:55 p.m., DEC dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office reporting a lost snowmobiler. Charles Conaway, 62, of Wells, left his home at 11 a.m. for a round-trip snowmobile ride from Wells via Hoffmeister, Salisbury Ridge Runners and the Powley Road in Stratford before returning to Wells. At 7:30 p.m. Conaway left a message with a friend stating he was “desperately lost in the area of the Powley Road in Stratford.” The reporting party contacted Hamilton County 911 as soon as the message was received. Three DEC forest rangers responded to the search. Ray Brook dispatch attempted cell phone and text contact with Conaway without success. Temperatures were forecasted to be minus 7 degrees overnight. Fortunately a short time later, Conaway contacted Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and advised that he had found his way back to the trail and was on his way home.

Fall on Cascade Mountain

On Saturday, March 15, at approximately 1:01 p.m., DEC Dispatch Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker. Laurel Allen, 62, of Peru, was hiking Cascade Mountain when she fell 10 feet near the first false summit and was injured. She was conscious and alert after the fall but sustained a minor injury. A DEC forest ranger responded, met Allen on the trail and walked her out to her vehicle. Allen declined further assistance and opted to seek medical treatment on her own.

Snowmobiler injured at boat launch

On Sunday, March 23 at approximately 7:10 p.m., DEC dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office reporting an injured snowmobiler. A DEC forest ranger responded along with Indian Lake Rescue. A 16-year-old female from Schenectady was ejected from her snowmobile while coming into the boat launch area at the Indian Lake Islands Campground. She was transported by Indian Lake Rescue to the Glens Falls Hospital for evaluation of her injuries.