June 20, 2018
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Hiker with broken leg rescued from Baxter State Park trail

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

BAXTER STATE PARK, Maine — A wet, grueling 1½-day rescue of a Steuben resident who suffered a broken leg while descending Hamlin Peak ended with her being treated at an area hospital on Sunday, park officials said.

Park rangers found Ashley Dewitt, 22, on Friday afternoon or early evening. Battling rainy and chilly conditions, they stabilized her, settled her and themselves in tents and awaited the arrival of an evacuation team, Park Director Jensen Bissell said in a statement.

Under steady rain, the evacuation team began carrying Dewitt down from the peak area at about 10 a.m. Saturday, reaching Chimney Pond Ranger Station at nightfall Saturday, Bissell said.

A 126th Army National Guard medevac unit assembled a flight crew and took Dewitt by helicopter to Millinocket Regional Hospital at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Bissell said.

A hospital spokeswoman said Sunday afternoon that the hospital had no information on Dewitt.

The evacuation team included park workers and volunteers from Maine search and rescue organizations, including Dirigo, Mahoosuc, Wilderness, MDI and Lincoln, as well as Acadia National Park, Maine Forest Service and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife personnel, Bissell said.

A wilderness and forest area of 209,501 acres, the park offers about 200 miles of wilderness hiking trails. The trails have many rocks and roots, even on the flattest terrain, according to the park’s Web site, baxterstateparkauthority.com.

Baxter crews average 30 to 40 rescues annually with one or two fatalities every year, officials have said.

Bissell did not return telephone messages seeking comment Sunday. Attempts to reach the Dewitt family in Steuben were unsuccessful.

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