North Country
9:33 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

Two Credited With Saving Lives of Four Massachusetts Hikers

A Fish and Game official says four ill-equipped hikers from Massachusetts probably would have died Sunday on the Franconia Ridge had two Connecticut men not happened along.  NHPR’s Chris Jensen has the story.

 

Brian Croce and a companion were working their way along the Franconia Ridge in blustery, frigid conditions Sunday afternoon.

Then they saw four people - three men and a woman - huddled together behind a rock.

“The guy told us that they desperately needed help and to call 911 for them.”

Croce and hiking partner Simon Long – both from Connecticut - shared food and clothing and began escorting the four off the mountain.

Meanwhile, Conservation Officers Bob Mancini and Jeremy Hawkes were headed up the mountain.

Mancini said the four hikers lacked proper equipment and were incredibly lucky that Croce and Long got there first.

“These two hikers, actually, in my opinion saved their lives.”

Later in the day two women from Massachusetts hiking down from the Franconia Ridge became exhausted because of the harsh conditions, said Fish and Game Lt. James Kneeland.

“They were fairly ill-equipped for the weather, not really enough clothing or food,” he said.

But two men and a woman from Montreal came across them and helped.

Kneeland said Fish and Game had received a call from 911 and was getting ready to head up to the women, but suddenly it wasn’t necessary.

“We saw faint headlamps bobbing down the trail. That was a good sight to see,” he said.

Kneeland said the rescues highlights the need for hikers to be properly prepared – particularly at this time of year.

For NHPR News, this is Chris Jensen