Severely hypothermic hiker dies after rescue in ‘treacherous’ circumstances close to Mt. Washington

Xi Chen, 53, of Andover, Massachusetts, was making an attempt to hike the Gulfside Path within the Presidential Vary when he was “overcome by extreme climate circumstances,” based on a New Hampshire Fish and Recreation (NHFG) information launch.

The hiker’s partner referred to as the company Saturday round 6:30 p.m. after Chen despatched her a textual content message telling her he was “chilly and moist and couldn’t proceed on” and that he “felt he would die with no rescue,” based on one other information launch issued Sunday.

NHFG officers had already obtained a number of calls that day from chilly and moist hikers asking for rescues, the vast majority of whom had been traversing excessive elevations within the Presidential Vary, the discharge mentioned. Because of the “dire nature” of the decision about Chen, rescue crews responded instantly and referred to as for added assets, together with officers from across the state and Mountain Rescue Providers personnel.

“The circumstances within the excessive peaks had been treacherous: freezing temperatures, rain, sleet, snow, and winds gusting over 80 mph. Solely these with the expertise, coaching, and sufficient gear had been utilized for this rescue,” the discharge mentioned. In complete, 9 mountain rescue personnel and 6 conservation officers responded to try to rescue Chen, based on NHFG.

Two groups of rescuers had been dropped off close to the summit at round 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and hiked by “driving rain, blowing snow, and sustained 50-60 mph winds with gusts over 80 mph” to succeed in the placement Chen was believed to be in, the discharge mentioned. Because of the buildup of ice on the highway, chains had been positioned on the tires of park vehicles to drive rescuers to the summit.

At about 10:38 p.m., the primary rescue crew discovered Chen, who was “unresponsive and in a extremely hypothermic state,” the discharge mentioned. Rescuers instantly positioned a brief shelter over him and tried to heat him up, it mentioned.

After detecting indicators of life, rescuers carried him over a mile to the summit of Mt. Washington, based on the discharge.

On the summit, Chen was positioned in a truck and pushed to a ready ambulance that transported him to the Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, about 24 miles northeast of the Mt. Washington summit, NHFG mentioned.

Life saving efforts had been carried out on Chen for a number of hours however he couldn’t be revived and was pronounced useless, NHFG mentioned.

Lots of the hikers who referred to as for rescues Saturday weren’t ready for the climate circumstances forecast on Saturday, based on NHFG.

“The forecasted climate circumstances, notably for the upper summits, was not heeded by many hikers,” the company mentioned in its launch. “A number of discovered themselves unprepared for the harmful circumstances above tree line, and as an alternative of turning again or bailing out to safer elevations, they continued on and in the end referred to as 911 anticipating a rescue.”

When NHFG obtained the emergency name about Chen, officers had been already within the midst of carrying an injured hiker out of the Centennial Path in Shelburne, the company mentioned.

“Generally having sufficient gear just isn’t sufficient,” NHFG suggested. “In climate circumstances skilled this weekend, it’s higher to descend and get out of the wind and chilly as an alternative of pushing on till it’s too late.”

CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to this report.


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