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Good Samaritans: NH mountains are full of them

August 13. 2013 5:38PM

The term “good Samaritan’’ has been used quite a bit in our news pages this summer. In the instance of several mountain rescues, it certainly applies.

We hope stories from this last weekend’s New Hampshire Sunday News caught reader attention. They did ours. We were struck by the number of times citizens, be they part of trained rescue squads or merely volunteers, jumped into action to help people they didn’t know out of situations in places that even some of the rescuers don’t know that well.

The people who were rescued have their lives today because of strangers. In perhaps the most horrific instance, a Pembroke, Mass., man says he has about 30 volunteers to thank.

That would be Russell Kinkade, who described in painful detail the injuries he sustained in a 40-foot plunge down Mt. Washington’s Huntington Ravine two weeks ago. They included the broken wrist, the eight broken or dislocated fingers, the broken arms, and the collapsed nasal cavity.

Mr. Kinkade wishes to thank the Mt. Washington State Park crew, who climbed down the ravine; and the Fish and Game officers and volunteers from Mountain Rescue Service and Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue and the AMC, and others who hiked up to get him.

Finding Kinkade was easy. Getting him down in a litter took 11 hours and a lot of straining muscles. Carrying a grown man in a litter is back-breaking stuff.

Also on the “thank-you” patrol this week, no doubt, is Freddy Poisson of Haverhill Mass. A good Samaritan himself, Poisson jumped into the Ammonoosuc River’s Upper Falls (no sleepy swimming hole on a good day) last Saturday afternoon when he heard calls for help for a 15-year-old boy who was struggling with the Falls’ strong currents.

It had rained quite a bit in the North Country and the river was roaring. The boy was okay, but Poisson was sucked under for upwards of two minutes. Lucky for him, a Boston University student who was there was also an EMT and her CPR revived him.

We don’t think the visiting teen from Sardinia was in such bad shape. But the leg he injured while hiking Mount Chocorua in Albany one night last week could have brought him a lot more trouble. But, again, good Samaritans were at hand. They included the Pemi VAlley Search and Rescue Team, the Appalachian Mountain Club, Mountain Rescue, and Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue.

Also of note: This last effort was overseen not by Fish and Game, as would be customary, but by the U.S. Forest Service. Fish and Game conservation officers had lost a veteran officer, Brian Abrams, in a motorcycle accident that week. The Forest Service folks sent out word that volunteers could step in while the Fish and Game folks paid their respects.

Another nice part of the New Hampshire condition, we think.


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