EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 13, 2013

Lost hiker found, airlifted off mountain

NEW HAMPTON — A hiker was rescued yesterday afternoon about 200 feet from the summit of Mount Haystack after spending a frigid night on the mountain, New Hampshire Fish and Game officials said.

Davis Fielding, 21, of Wilmington, Mass., started out at 8 a.m. Wednesday, planning to hike in Franconia Notch. Fielding headed up Falling Waters Trail, then intentionally went off the trail, according to Fish and Game officials.

He lost his way in the woods. Fish and Game was alerted to his disappearance at 2 a.m. yesterday. A search started at daybreak and included 10 Fish and Game Conservation Officers and 10 volunteers from the Mountain Rescue Service. An Army National Guard helicopter also was used in the search.

Other hikers found Fielding at about 12:30 p.m. and notified authorities. He was airlifted off the mountain by the National Guard helicopter, then taken by ambulance to Littleton Hospital. He did not suffer any major injuries, authorities said.

“This young man may not have survived if he had not been carrying some cold weather gear, including a sleeping bag,” said Sgt. Brian Suttmeier of N.H. Fish and Game.

“His mistakes were hiking alone, intentionally leaving the marked trail, and going hiking when the weather was predicted to be inclement.”

Conditions above the treeline are similar to midwinter, including subzero temperatures, high wind and blowing snow.

Officials urge hikers to be prepared.

Find information on safe hiking and the hiker responsibility code at hikesafe.com.

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