Monday, June 7, 2010

Forest rangers, SARNAK conduct successful search and rescue

Forest rangers and emergency personnel rescued a 50-year-old man who went missing after becoming separated from his hiking group over the weekend.

According to officials from the state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5 headquarters in Ray Brook, dispatch received a call at approximately 7:45 p.m. Saturday about a missing hiker in the High Peaks Wilderness.

The caller stated that several hikers were descending Ampersand Mountain in the town of Harrietstown when they noticed Phil Torey of North Rose, New York was not with group.

Torey was with the group when it reached the mountain’s summit, but was not with them as they began heading down. Fellow hikers said they assumed he’d gone ahead to wait at their campsite on Middle Saranac Lake.

But when they got there, Torey was still missing and the rescue call was placed to DEC dispatch. Two forest rangers responded and searched both the trail and drainages on Ampersand Mountain well into the night.

On Sunday, 13 forest rangers and six members of Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks – SARNAK – continued searching.

DEC Region 5 spokesman David Winchell said that due to inclement weather, the New York State Police Aviation Unit was not able to assist in the search.

Rescue crews eventually found Torey at about 8:15 a.m. Sunday along the Saranac River near the mouth of Cold Brook, between Oseetah Lake and Second Pond. He was in good condition and had been carrying sufficient rain gear.

Torey told forest rangers he’d exited the trail near Split Rock at the mountain’s summit and thought he could loop back to the trail. But he ended up at Flag Brook on the south side of the mountain.

He followed Flag Brook to Cold Brook and ended up at the Saranac River. He was reunited with his fellow hikers at about 9:45 a.m. at the DEC Second Pond Boat Launch.

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