Two rescues unfolded simultaneously several miles apart on Katahdin Tuesday afternoon

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 11:49 AM EDT
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The first rescue involved a 36 year-old woman from Auburn, GA, suffering from an unstable lower extremity injury approximately three miles up the Abol Trail on the west side of the mountain. Baxter Park Rangers responded to a 911 call from a member of her three person party around 3pm, deployed two campground rangers to the scene, and contacted the Maine Army National Guard (MEARNG). A Black Hawk helicopter piloted by Lt. Col Nathan Arnold, Pilot-in-Command, Capt. JJ Marcigliano, Pilot, and crewed by Staff Sgt. Joseph Leclair, Crew Chief, and Sgt First Class Jessica Plowman, Medic, were able to hoist the patient into the helicopter and deliver her to Caribou Pit by 6:40pm, where she was loaded into a Millinocket Fire ambulance and transported to Millinocket Regional Hospital for further treatment.

The second involved a 35 year-old Maine man who slipped and fell in between two large rocks on the Dudley Trail within the Great Basin around 1:45pm. The man dislocated his shoulder during the fall and remained trapped until other hikers freed him and gave him warm layers. His hiking partner hiked roughly four miles to and alerted the Campground Ranger at Roaring Brook at about 4pm. After unloading the woman from the helicopter and loading two Baxter Park Rangers, the MEARNG Black Hawk flew to the man’s location on the Dudley Trail and inserted Sgt. 1st Class Plowman, who was assisted by the Chimney Pond Campground Ranger shortly thereafter when he arrived on the scene. The pair were able to load the man into a litter and hoist him into the Black Hawk around 7:45pm. He was transported to Millinocket Municipal Airport where he was transferred to a Millinocket Fire ambulance and taken to Millinocket Regional Hospital for further treatment.

The professionalism of MEARNG members and the serendipitous proximity of their resources helped to ensure a rapid response and likely enhanced patient outcomes. While Park Rangers welcome the opportunity to work with the consummate professionals at MEARNG, Millinocket Fire and MRH, visitors are reminded that the opportunity for an air-lift should never be assumed. Baxter Park urges caution, especially during your descent, as the consequences of accidents become magnified as the daylight and temperatures decline.

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