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Forest rangers face various situations

Forest rangers in the Adirondacks helped lost and injured hikers, responded to a domestic situation involving a loaded firearm and helped determine the location of a missing person over the last week.

Domestic incident

On April 16 at 12 p.m., Ranger Jared Booth overheard New York State Police emergency radio traffic advising of a domestic situation involving a loaded firearm in the town of Dannemora, Clinton County. Booth responded to the location and once on scene quickly sized up the situation. From a position of cover, the ranger encouraged the male subject, who had access to a loaded firearm, to calmly come outside. After complying with Booth’s request, the unarmed subject was taken into custody and turned over to the State Police.

Injured hiker

On April 17 at 3:15 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook dispatch center received a call regarding a hiker with a possible broken ankle on Blake Mountain in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. After consulting with Forest Ranger Capt. Christopher Kostoss and based on the injury, location and amount of daylight left, Forest Rangers Robert Praczkajlo and Andrew Lewis requested New York State Police Aviation assistance to conduct a helicopter hoist operation. With Ranger Jeffrey Balerno as crew chief, Rangers Hannah O’Connor and Lewis were inserted near the summit of the mountain. From there, the rangers quickly located the 61-year-old woman from Johnstown. She was safely hoisted out and flown to a local hospital for medical treatment. Rangers then escorted the remaining members of the hiking party out of the wilderness. All rangers and hikers were clear of the incident at 8:30 p.m.

Lost hikers

On April 17 at 7:20 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook dispatch received a call from two lost hikers in the Tongue Mountain Range in the town of Bolton. The pair was concerned about becoming lost in the woods after dark. The hikers were still on the trail, 3.5 miles from the nearest trailhead, and an additional 5 miles away from their vehicle. The hikers were encouraged to continue making their way out of the woods. About an hour later, the hikers called back as one of them was having a panic attack, fearful that their cellphone lights wouldn’t last much longer. Forest Ranger Charles Kabrehl responded to assist the 26-year-old women from Montgomery, New York, and Oradell, New Jersey. By 10:14 p.m., Kabrehl and the hikers were out of the woods.

Missing person

On April 18 at 8:34 a.m., Acting Forest Ranger Lt. Gregory Hoag received a call from DEC’s Ray Brook dispatch advising of a request from Lewis County 911 for assistance with a missing 39-year-old man from Pittsburgh in the Fowlersville area in Lyonsdale, along the Moose River. The camper missed a planned meeting with a relative on April 17 and had not been heard from since April 13. Forest Ranger Jennifer Snyder responded to the scene and met with Lewis County sheriff’s deputies, New York State Police and family members. Forest Rangers Lincoln Hanno and Luke Evans also responded to aid in the search, along with Forest Ranger Adam Baldwin with a drone. Further investigation determined the man had suffered an arm injury on April 14, and he evacuated to a nearby road, where he was transported to a local hospital by a passing motorist. All units were clear of the scene by 12:35 p.m.

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