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December 12. 2013 3:50PM

Mass. man rescued from Mt. Haystack in Franconia

LITTLETON — A Massachusetts man was undergoing examination Thursday afternoon at Littleton Hospital, rescued from near the summit of Mt. Haystack, where he spent the night after going off the Falling Waters Trail and getting lost.

New Hampshire Fish & Game Sgt. Brian Sutmeier said David Fielding, 21, of Wilmington, was located at about 1 p.m. by hikers who were not part of the search but came upon Fielding, who had stumbled his way back onto the trail. The hikers called in his location, and a New Hampshire National Guard helicopter crew airlifted Fielding off the mountain.

Sutmeier said his department received a call at 2 a.m. about an overdue hiker on Mt. Lafayette in Franconia Notch. Sutmeier said Fielding had good equipment with him “which is why he’s alive today.” But he was suffering from exposure to the cold.

Sutmeier said Fielding made three serious errors: going off trail, hiking alone, and not checking the weather before starting out.

He said 10 Fish & Game officers, six or seven volunteers from the Mountain Rescue group and the crew of the New Hampshire National Guard helicopter took part in the search.

If the hikers hadn’t come upon Fielding, Sutmeier said: “We would have found him eventually.”


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