Lieutenant Mark Ober
June 12, 2023
Shelburne, NH – On Friday, June 9, at approximately 1:30 p.m., NH Fish and Game Conservation Officers were notified of a hiker who had fallen and struck her head on rocks 2.2 miles up the Rattle River Trail in Shelburne. The hiker had lost consciousness and a physician hiking with her recommended a carryout rescue. There was no cell phone service at the location of the injury, so a member of her hiking party ran down the trail in order to get cell phone coverage. After making the call to 911, he hiked back up the trail to his companions.
Due to the reported seriousness of the injury and remote location an immediate rescue was initiated with Conservation Officers and volunteers from Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (AVSAR) responding to the call.
The hiker, identified as Sarah Zettler, 47, of Bexley, OH was on the third day of a planned hike to complete the rest of the Appalachian Trail with a final destination of Mt. Katahdin in Maine. She was with three other hikers with the same goal.
While descending the Rattle River Trail, Zettler was crossing a stream when one of her trekking poles broke causing her to fall face first into the rocky bank of the stream. She suffered several injuries include lacerations, loss of consciousness, and an injured arm and leg. She was assisted by her hiking companions and cared for by the physician on scene while waiting for rescuers to arrive.
Rescuers with a litter arrived on scene at approximately 3:45 p.m., evaluated Zettler’s condition, placed her in the litter and started carrying her down at 4:15 p.m. The rescue crew arrived at the trailhead at 5:05 p.m. Zettler was transferred over to the Gorham Ambulance and transported to Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin for treatment of her injuries
Zettler was prepared with appropriate gear and supplies for a prolonged hike and did possesses a hike safe card.