CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – A 61-year-old woman who got lost while hiking was reported in good condition Sunday after enduring a night of high winds and frigid temperatures on New Hampshire’s Mount Jackson.
An Army National Guard helicopter crew spotted Julie Horgan of Milton, Mass., at about 10 a.m. Sunday more than 16 hours after she was reported to be in trouble, said Lt. Douglas Gralenski of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
The helicopter crew gave directions to ground searchers, who located Horgan and walked her to safety. Although Horgan was cold, hungry and exhausted, she was in good condition and able to walk out with only minimal assistance, Gralenski said.
Horgan started her hike from a ski lodge at Crawford Notch and called a friend by cell phone Saturday afternoon saying she lost the trail about 15 minutes from the summit. Mount Jackson has an elevation of more than 4,000 feet.
Members of the Fish and Game’s search-and-rescue team and Appalachian Mountain Club staff searched the mountain Saturday evening, but were hampered by high winds that limited visibility and hearing and swept away any evidence of tracks.
Winds at the time were gusting between 70 and 90 mph, with wind chills far below zero, officials said.
As a second wave of search teams climbed the mountain Sunday morning, an Army Guard helicopter crew that had recently returned from deployment in Iraq spotted Horgan from the air.
Horgan was adequately dressed for a winter hike and was able to find refuge from the wind while on the mountain, but a day hiker who was not adequately prepared could have perished in the extreme conditions, officials said.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)