Hiker rescued on Franconia Ridge after accidental knife wound
FRANCONIA - A young Massachusetts man camping with a friend on Franconia Ridge in the White Mountains was rescued Thursday after he accidentally stabbed himself with a knife while cutting evergreen boughs for bedding.Benoit Armangau, 22, of Acton, Mass., set out Wednesday morning with a 22-year-old male companion. The pair planned a multi-night backpacking excursion in the Franconia Ridge area. They stopped to camp for the night on the Franconia Ridge Trail near the summit of Mt. Flume. While cutting the evergreens, Armangau accidentally stabbed himself in a lower extremity, incurring a debilitating injury that left him unable to walk without assistance. He was using a knife with a five-inch blade.The area had limited cellphone service, yet the two were able to call their families in Massachusetts, who then notified local police in Massachusetts, who in turn notified New Hampshire authorities. The N.H. Fish and Game Department was notified Wednesday about 7:30 p.m. A text message was communicated to the young men advising them to get to a location where they could call 911. They did so, which provided coordinates for searchers to be able to find them.Hindered by snow depths of up to two feet on the ridge, as well as steady cold rain, Fish and Game conservation officers reached the hikers Thursday at 1:45 a.m. Officers stabilized the man's injury and stayed with the two through the night. The hikers were adequately prepared with sleeping bags and tents.At daybreak, officers and volunteers from the Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team were sent up the trail. Rescuers made their way back down the mountain with the injured hiker, who at that point was able to move slowly under his own power. The rescue teams and hikers arrived at the Liberty Spring Trailhead Thursday at 1:30 p.m., and the injured hiker was evaluated by a team from Linwood Ambulance Services. The hikers transported themselves in their own vehicle to Littleton Regional Hospital.