Lieutenant James Kneeland
June 5, 2020
Franconia, NH – On Thursday, June 4, shortly after 8:30 p.m., NH Fish and Game Conservation Officers were notified of two hikers who were off trail in Franconia Notch. Coordinates of the hikers’s location showed that they were about a quarter of a mile off the Bridle Path. In talking with the pair it was learned that they could no longer continue because of the steep terrain and the fading light. Not equipped with a map, compass, or a light source, they felt that they could not safely continue up or down.
Two Conservation Officers responded to the Old Bridle Path and hiked up to the intersection of the Greenleaf Trail. The two officers were able to descend the steep terrain to the stranded hikers reaching them just after midnight. After giving them food and water, they were equipped with a headlamp and warm clothing. The group was able to slowly descend the steep slides on the eastern side of Franconia Notch and arrived near Profile Lake at 7:15a.m. It was learned that the two hikers had been descending the Greenleaf Trail when they felt they would not make it out by dark. Lacking a light, they consulted a mapping app on their cell phone and learned that they were only about 8 tenths of a mile from the interstate if they just went straight through the woods, off trail. They didn’t take into account the terrain they would encounter and that in those 8 tenths of a mile the topography descends 2,500 feet.
It will be recommended that, the two hikers, identified as 27-year-old Nisrine Orgad of Weymouth, Massachusetts, and 41-year-old Henry Santos of Peabody, Massachusetts, be charged for the cost of the rescue. They lacked the majority of the “Ten Essentials” and compounded that by making bad decisions. For a list of the “Ten Essentials” visit hikesafe.com. Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to purchase a Hike Safe card at wildnh.com/safe. The card helps support Fish and Game search and rescue activities and exempts the holder from certain liability for repaying search and rescue costs.