Overnight Rescue of Man and 9-Year-Old Lost in Woods for 16 Hours
Forest rangers are stressing the importance of being prepared after a hiker and his young daughter wound up getting stranded in the Hudson Valley for 16 hours.
The two hikers set out from the Mohonk Preserve in Ulster county on Saturday, November 12. Just after 3pm the duo took advantage of the unseasonably warm temperatures and began their trek through the Ulster County wilderness. Rangers say the 47-year-old man and nine-year-old daughter made the critical mistake of not being prepared to hike back in the dark.
Without the proper clothing or headlamps, the pair found themselves stranded in the dark as it began to rain. Since setting the clocks backward, sunset has been occurring before 5pm, taking many by surprise. The hikers were suddenly lost in the wilderness in the rain and darkness with no way to find their way back.
It wasn't until just before midnight that forest ranger assistance was requested for help in searching for the two hikers. According to reports, the man and his daughter attempted to leave the trail and find a route to a nearby road. Unfortunately, their path was blocked by a fast-moving creek. That's when the temperature began to drop and it started to rain.
Unfamiliar with the rugged terrain of the Mohonk preserve, the hikers were stuck shivering and wet. With no cell service to call for help, the pair could only wait and hope someone would realize they were missing. Luckily, family members did call 911 but were unable to tell park rangers where the hikers were because they did not share their route with anyone before leaving.
Five rangers and the Ulster County Sheriff's office searched the trails and carriage roads until 3:30am but were unable to find the hikers. An hour later the lost man was finally able to get a strong enough signal to make a call to his wife. After describing his surroundings, a ranger was able to pinpoint the location and talk the man back through the woods to the closest trail. Finally, just before 6am a ranger was able to make contact with the hikers on Old Minnewaska trail.
The man and his daughter were provided with jackets, hats, water and snacks before being led out of the woods. The pair finally returned back to their family after 7am, 16 hours after starting the hike.
Rangers stress the importance of being prepared when heading out for a hike.
Hikers should always have flashlights or headlamps, even if they do not plan to hike at night. Hikers should also let a family member or friend know where they are hiking and when they plan to return.
Authorities say these simple precautions would have prevented the man and his daughter from having to spend a terrifying night lost in the wilderness. Scroll down for a list of precautions every hiker should follow and find out just how prepared you are for your next trip into the woods.