MOUNT WASHINGTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A search and rescue operation that started on Tuesday night to find two lost hikers in Mount Washington during a Nor’easter ended early Wednesday morning.
According to the Massachusetts State Police, at around 7:48 p.m. Tuesday, a 911 call from one of the hikers told Troopers he and his friend had gone for a hike on the Alander Trail in the state forest but because of the bad weather and darkness, they could no longer see the trail markings and could not continue to a cabin they were headed to at the mountain peak. The heavy falling snow covered their tracks and could not retrace their steps back out of the forest.
The State Forest is 4,619 acres of state land located in the southwest corner of Berkshire County in a town called Mount Washington in Massachusetts which extends to New York state and the state of Connecticut.
The hikers said that they were approximately two miles into the forest. They were told to stay where they are by Troopers and emergency dispatchers as a search and rescue team equipped with snowmobiles would deploy.
A command post was staged at the Egremont Fire Department on Route 23 with the following members:
- Troopers from various Massachusetts State Police units
- MSP K9
- Egremont and Sheffield Firefighters
- State Environmental Police
- DCR Rangers
Due to the winter storm, trees, and power lines were down in the area of the state forest. By 11:15 p.m. National Grid employees had shut power to downed lines so the road to the trail entrances could be cleared and the search team of six was able to deploy.
Search and rescue team on snowmobiles:
- Two Troopers from the State Police Special Emergency Response Team
- Three Sheffield Firefighters
- DCR Ranger
At around 12:09 a.m., with over two feet of snow, the snowmobiles were unable to drive on the trail, so the team began the two-mile walk to find the hikers. They were located at around 2:30 a.m. suffering from fatigue and cold temperatures but were not injured.
The group hiked back out of the forest and arrived at the DCR headquarters building near the trail entrance around 4:48 a.m. Wednesday morning. The two men aged 47 and 53, were taken to the hospital for evaluation due to their fatigue and cold weather exposure. The command post was cleared by 6:20 a.m.