Lieutenant William Boudreau
April 5, 2021
Jaffrey, NH – New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Conservation Officers received a 911 call around 8:25 p.m. on Sunday, April 4, 2021. Jennifer Publicover, 40, of Winchendon, MA, was reporting that she was on the White Arrow Trail at Monadnock State Park and she did not have a light source. After speaking with a Conservation Officer for less than one minute, Publicover’s cellular phone battery died. Fortunately the 911 dispatchers were able to provide GPS coordinates for her location. Publicover was approximately 0.5 miles up the mountain from the end of the Old Toll Road in Jaffrey. Conservation Officers arrived at Monadnock State Park at approximately 9:20 p.m.
Two Conservation Officers located Publicover at 10:00 p.m. The Conservation Officers learned that after her cellular phone battery died, she started to panic and began hiking down the trail in the dark without a light. She made it approximately 500’ before falling off of a rock ledge that was approximately 20’ high and landed on the rocks below. The Conservation Officers on scene quickly learned that the right side of her body had suffered serious injuries.
At this time, Conservation Officers called in more resources to include the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Mountain Patrol Rangers, Members of the Jaffrey Fire Department, Members of the Peterborough Fire Department, and volunteers with the Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team. Rescuers provided medical attention, warm clothing, and carried Publicover in a litter to a waiting pickup truck. She was transported down the Old Toll Road and then transferred into the Jaffrey-Rindge Memorial Ambulance. From there she was transported to the Silver Ranch Airpark where she was picked up by a UMass Memorial LifeFlight helicopter and flown to UMass Memorial Medical Center at 2:00 a.m. Monday morning.
Pulicover began her hike at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Sunday and she was not properly dressed for the conditions, did not have a light source, map, compass, or food and water. This incident could have had a much different outcome had Publicover not been able to make one last call from her cellular phone before the battery died. That particular area of Mount Monadnock is also known for spotty cellular phone coverage.
Conservation Officers were also assisted by South Western New Hampshire Fire Mutual Aid, Cheshire County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch Office, and the Jaffrey Police Department.
This incident is a good reminder to all people recreating in the outdoors to prepare for the unexpected, hike with a partner or group, and carry the necessary equipment. Never rely on a cellular phone for rescue. Please visit www.hikesafe.com for a list of recommended hiking equipment.