A 75-year-old man tumbled 50 feet, suffered a broken leg and endured a rainy night on Katahdin in Baxter State Park before rescuers airlifted him and his nephew to safety on Wednesday.
The hiker from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, was in critical but stable condition at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor with hypothermia and exhaustion, which his nephew also suffered, according to Baxter State Park.
The two men started hiking the Dudley Trail from Chimney Pond at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and got lost in the fog sometime after dark on the Knife Edge Trail near Katahdin’s South Peak. Rangers said they received the nephew’s 911 call shortly after midnight Wednesday.
Talking intermittently through cellphones, the rangers coached the hikers on sheltering in place until daylight. They found the hikers at about 9 a.m. A rescue helicopter hoisted the man aboard at about 10:30 a.m. and returned an hour later for the nephew.
The rescue was the sixth airlift from Katahdin this year. Rangers said that hikers should not go into the park without food, water and supplies and should not rely on cellphone coverage.