Lieutenant James Kneeland
August 12, 2021
Franconia, NH – On Thursday August 12 just after 4:00 p.m., a report came in to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department about a hiker suffering a medical emergency on the Old Bridle Path. The reporting party was advising that their companion was suffering from heat-related illness and had not been able to move in over an hour. Repeated attempts to rehydrate and cool down had not improved his condition. A rescue effort commenced.
Conservation Officers with NH Fish and Game along with volunteers from Pemi Valley Search and Rescue Team responded to the trailhead. Upon arrival at the hiker’s location, a little over a mile up the trail, it was determined that a carryout would be necessary as the hiker’s condition had not improved. At 7:15 p.m., the rescue team arrived back at the trailhead with the ill hiker where they were met by an ambulance from Franconia Life Squad. The hiker was transported to Littleton Regional Hospital for further evaluation and treatment. The 17 rescuers endured extreme heat and humidity to complete this carryout.
The 24-year-old hiker was identified as Dennis Fleming of Waltham, Massachusetts. Fleming had been hiking with two companions and had departed a day earlier and spent one night on Garfield Ridge. After using most of their water the previous day, the group made their way to Greenleaf Hut where they were able to get more water. Unfortunately, the heat and humidity had already taken its toll on Fleming and he only made it another mile and a half before he could not continue. For over an hour his companions attempted to rehydrate and cool him down but his condition did not improve so a call for help was made.
For safe hiking tips and a list of essential gear, 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.