Rangers work snowmobile incidents, wilderness rescues last week

State Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers responded to several snowmobile-related incidents last week — including a fatality — while also maintaining rescue certification and helping two lost hikers in the High Peaks Wilderness.

Town of Fine

Just before 3 p.m. on Friday, March 1, DEC dispatch received a request for assistance for a 54-year-old man who had been in an accident on the St. Lawrence and Lewis county line. Numerous rangers responded via snowmobile while local rescue personnel were inserted via helicopter nearby.

The man was stabilized at the scene and then evacuated on a rescue sled. A Life Flight helicopter transported the man to the hospital for further treatment.

Town of Keene

On Saturday, March 2 at about 5:30 p.m. two hikers reported they had become lost in whiteout conditions. The hikers were directed to call 911 so GPS coordinates could be obtained, and based on those coordinates, ranger Robert Praczkajlo directed the hikers back to the marked trail.

Three rangers also took snowmobiles from Adirondak Loj and made contact with the hikers shortly before midnight.

Town of Webb

Rangers, environmental conservation officers, state police and Old Forge rescue personnel responded to reports of a fatality on Sunday, March 3 on Woodhull Lake.

State police determined the 59-year-old Rome, New York, man was operating a 2019 snowmobile on the lake when he struck a large rock protruding through the ice. The snowmobile became airborne and the man was ejected. Two of his riding companions located the man and called 911.

Town of Oppenheim

On Sunday, March 3, rangers were on snowmobile enforcement patrol in the Lassellsville State Forest when they stopped a snowmobiler who had no registration sticker displayed. While talking to a second snowmobiler, the rangers discovered the man was operating the snowmobile under the influence of alcohol.

After failing a field sobriety test, the man was taken to the state police barracks in Fonda and was released on appearance tickets to a sober third party.

Town of Keene

Numerous search and rescue organizations from up and down the East Coast gathered in Keene as rangers hosted a Mountain Rescue Association evaluation process.

The two-day event included evaluation on high-angle rescue, patient care, wildland search and steep-angle snow evacuations.