BAXTER STATE PARK, Maine — A Maine Army National Guard Medevac helicopter rescued a New Jersey hiker from one of the park’s highest peaks on Saturday after she fell ill, officials said Sunday.
The 29-year-old woman from Moorestown, New Jersey, was hiking with six others when a medical condition flared up atop Pamola Peak on Katahdin. Park rangers were alerted after a 911 call from the hiker’s companions at 11:57 a.m., Baxter State Park Director Jensen Bissell said in a statement.
A park ranger who reached them atop the 4,919-foot peak at about 1:15 p.m. called the helicopter, which transported the woman to Millinocket Regional Hospital about three hours later, said Bissell, who declined to identify the woman. A report on her condition was not available Sunday.
Park officials were happy with the outcome of the rescue, but Chief Ranger Stewart Guay stressed that hikers should remember that evacuations by air can never be assumed. Weather, crew availability and the location of the patient can eliminate the opportunity for air rescue, Bissell said.
In this case, if the cloud cover had been lower or the weather rainy, a litter evacuation from Pamola to the nearest road would have required 30 to 40
people and would have taken 24 to 36 hours, Bissell said.
At 5,268 feet, Katahdin is the tallest mountain in Maine. Baxter State Park is more than 200,000 acres of wilderness and public forest just northwest of Millinocket.