Crews complete icy mountain night rescue; all OK after crash closes Rt. 100

Rescuers make their way down a snowy, icy trail during Saturday’s call to assist an injured hiker near Hunger Mountain.

Local search and rescue crews had their first rescue in dark, icy conditions for the season on Saturday when they converged near Hunger Mountain to help an injured hiker.

Five teams took part with 19 rescue members responding to a call shortly before 2:30 p.m., according to a report from Brian Lindner, leader of the Waterbury Backcountry Rescue Team.

A 31-year-old Florida man was hiking alone on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 20, when he slipped on icy rocks and injured his ankle. Lindner said he was unable to proceed with his descent from a spot on the Worcester side of the mountain at about 2,800 feet elevation on the White Rock trail. The call for help came with barely two hours of daylight remaining.

Two hikers found the injured man and stayed with him until the first rescue team reached the scene at 4:30 p.m. “The hiker’s injured ankle was splinted, and he was placed into a hypothermia bag — similar to a sleeping bag — to keep him as warm as possible until more rescuers and a Stokes litter were hauled up the mountain,” Lindner explained.

Crews involved came from Camels Hump Back Country Rescue Team, Colchester Technical Rescue, Mad River Valley Ambulance Service, Stowe Mountain Rescue, and Waterbury Backcountry Rescue Team, Lindner listed in his report. The pair of hikers remained with the teams to assist on the way down.

Rescuers relied on ATVs to cover ground quickly to get within a mile of the injured hiker. According to an account from Stowe Mountain Rescue, the awaiting party had managed to start a fire to keep warm.

“Shortly after 5:00, in full darkness, the evacuation began through a series of rope belays in the steep, rocky, and icy conditions,” Lindner said. Once off the steep portion of the trail, the rescue wheeled litter carrying the hiker was able to roll along the trail, according to rescuers.

All rescuers and the hiker reached the base of the trail around 7 p.m. A friend met the group and drove the injured hiker to the hospital.

Lindner added to his report that hikers are urged to always hike with at least one other person, take plenty of warm clothes, food, water, and always be off the mountain well before darkness.

The Stowe dispatch added that “microspikes are a game-changer and don’t take up much space in your pack. If you’re heading into the mountains, they should be considered essential equipment at this time of year.”

Waterbury Backcountry Rescue Team is part of the nonprofit Waterbury Ambulance Service Inc. The team provides rescue services from remote areas in the Waterbury region and supports surrounding communities via the mutual aid system.

No one hurt in Rt. 100 crash near Gregg Hill

Also last week, no one was hurt in a three-car crash on Vermont Rt. 100 in Waterbury Center near the northern intersection with Gregg Hill Road just south of the Stowe town line, according to Vermont State Police.

Waterbury Fire Department and Waterbury Ambulance also responded and the roadway was closed for a time between 4:45 and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

The crash happened when a 2013 Jeep Wrangler driven by 25-year-old Nicholas Bailey of Eden headed north crossed into the southbound lane, colliding with a 2017 Volkswagen Jetta driven by Seamus Breslin, 23, of Waterbury. Both vehicles were totaled, police said. The Jeep then struck the rear corner of a southbound 2020 Hyundai Ioniq driven by Benjamin Weigel, 37, of Waterbury. The Hyundai was pushed off the east side of the road and down an embankment, police said.

All three drivers and the passengers of the Hyundai were evaluated by ambulance personnel but no one was taken to the hospital, according to police. Bailey was issued a civil ticket for failing to drive to the right side of the roadway, police said.

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