Lieutenant Mark Ober
January 25, 2021
Thompson and Meserve’s Purchase, NH – On January 23, at approximately 3:20 p.m., two hikers placed a call to 911 after one of them suffered a leg injury while descending Mt. Adams. The hikers, identified as brothers Dirke Buban, 39, of Queensbury, NY, and Eric Buban, 45, of Woodbury, CT, had lost the Star Lake Trail during their descent and ended up a part way down into Madison Gulf and into waist-deep snow.
Realizing their mistake, the brothers attempted to hike back up toward the ridge when Dirke broke one of his snowshoes and subsequently suffered a leg injury. Following a call to 911, the poor cell phone coverage in the area caused the call was to be dropped and unable to be re-acquired. Fish and Game was notified of the incident and a rescue response was initiated with members of Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (AVSAR), Mountain Rescue Services (MRS), and Advanced SAR Team Conservation Officers responding.
Given their compromised position and the fact that potential rescue was hours away, Dirke endured the pain in his leg and was able to make his way through the deep snow until he and his brother reached solid terrain. Once the brothers reached Star Lake, the solid footing of the windswept ground assisted them in making it down the rest of the way.
At approximately 5:30 p.m., the Buban brothers made it to Madison Spring Hut where cell phone communication was reestablished and the decision that rescuers could stand down was made.
After two hours of steady hiking down the Valley Way Trail, the brothers successfully made it down to the Appalachia Trailhead parking lot.