Lieutenant Mark Ober
April 18, 2022
Thompson and Meserves Purchase, NH – Fish and Game Conservation Officers were notified of an emergency distress beacon activation through a Garmin device Friday, April 15 at approximately 11:10 a.m. The report came in from the International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) of an injured backcountry snowboarder in the Great Gulf in a ski run known as Turkey Shoot.
The snowboarder, identified as Patrick McQuaide, 31, of Pelham, NH, had been on a solo trip when he fell and tumbled, striking rocks. This was witnessed by another solo backcountry skier identified as John Dwyer, 32, of Beverly, MA, who immediately skied down to where McQuaide had fallen. There was no cell phone coverage, so Dwyer activated his emergency SOS switch on his Garmin device which sent a message indicating that McQuaide had suffered serious injuries and was unable to walk. Dwyer and another skier, who had happened upon them, stayed with McQuaide until help arrived.
Due to the extreme remoteness of the area and the reported serious nature of the injuries, a call was made to the Army National Guard for the possibility of a helicopter rescue. The Guard was able to quickly assemble a crew and fly a Black Hawk helicopter north from Concord.
The Black Hawk arrived on station at 1:17 p.m. The pilots were able to hover the helicopter over the injured snowboarder and lower a medic directly onto the slope. The medic assessed McQuaide and with the assistance of Dwyer, placed him in a litter and hoisted him up into the helicopter. The total evolution took approximately 25 minutes. The helicopter then flew McQuaide to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.