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Old 07-19-2018, 09:54 AM   #21
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All this negativity towards local agencies is inspired from one person's account of an already bad incident. Honestly, the author's tone throughout the whole article seemed indicative of an agenda.

Rangers can't always be directly reached. The ECO's have a hotline/dispatch, but they're not the primary response force for rescues.

Reaching out to local police and fire agencies is better than reaching out to no one at all. Any speculation that this woman may have survived with earlier extraction is just that....speculation. First responders have a lot of uncertainty to deal with and on-the-spot decisions to make for any emergency situation. It's easy for the average person to judge them in hindsight, it's hard for the average person to make similar decisions in a real-life and stressful scenario.

If genuine mistakes were made, people should be willing to learn from them. But I'm hesitant to acknowledge that any mistakes were made if all we're going off is one person's subjective retelling of the story.
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Old 07-19-2018, 10:34 AM   #22
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@bounder45

The author was clearly disappointed with the perceived timeliness of the response and it shows in his writing. It's not an objective assessment but a personal view of what transpired.

OK, so let's ignore the author's subjectivity and focus on what was accomplished.
  • At personal risk they exited the woods and were able to contact authorities.
  • 911 operators had difficulty pinpointing a location that's off the grid.
  • Authorities were dispatched.
  • They arrived with necessary equipment.
  • The first rescue team set out on foot and became lost.
  • The second rescue team set out by boat but turned back due to darkness, the rough conditions, unfamiliarity with the lake, pick one or more reasons.
  • The DEC rangers were dispatched, arrived, set out by boat, extracted the victim, and transported her back to be evacuated by air to hospital.
My takeaway is that the training received by DEC rangers makes them better suited to handle backcountry emergencies. The local authorities did their best but the off-grid location and weather conditions challenged their procedures/training/abilities.


I added the DEC's Dispatch number to my phone a long time ago. It's also on our home phone and is the number my wife will call if she doesn't hear from by midnight.


It boils down to specialization. I wouldn't call DEC Dispatch if I saw a car accident in town nor would I call 911 if I saw an accident in the backcountry. What this incident highlights is that 911 does not appear to forward backcountry incidents to the DEC. It would be interesting to learn if the DEC forwards non-backcountry incidents to 911.
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Old 07-19-2018, 11:02 AM   #23
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@Trailboss,
The Rangers specifically, not the DEC overall (which includes ECO's), are more focused on SAR than are local rescue and LE agencies. With that I agree.

The Rangers can't be everywhere at once, and neither can the local agencies. They can, and do, help or fill in for each other from time to time. BTW, I'm aware of an ECO dispatch phone number. I'm not aware of a Ranger dispatch phone number. Where did you find that?

The author's tone was expressing more than disappointment in my opinion. Go back and reread the author's account of the first encounter with the hikers and how the lead hiker (later to be the victim) was portrayed. It was apparent, to me at least, that the author was treating everyone around him as incompetent and or unsure.

Maybe there were missteps by the first responders. My point is this: people should refrain from making that determination based of one person's subjective account.
  • Did the author truly and accurately represent the conditions that the firefighters were facing? It's dark, it's windy, trees have been falling down. These people weren't making decisions in a vacuum.
  • Did the author accurately represent the decision-making of those responders? The reason for turning the boat around was not made readily apparent, and I'd certainly like to hear the firefighter's perspective on that rather than just rely on the author's tense and somewhat emotional narrative.

And for the record, it was the firefighters who got to the scene first, according to the author. The Rangers got on scene after the firefighters had already made contact with the victim. It's not apparent who actually extracted the victim, but given that the firefighters were there first and had chainsaws, I wouldn't be surprised if it was them.

Also, for a serious injury like that, I would most certainly prefer having firefighters or paramedics on scene, with or without the Rangers. Their life-saving skills are generally at a higher standard relative to the LE agencies.
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Old 07-19-2018, 12:01 PM   #24
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Yes, we can never know for sure if the poor woman would have survived if she had been extracted sooner.

We do know that her extraction took far longer than it needed to. Had the local fire dept simply called the DEC rangers as soon as they were notified, it is likely she would have been reached hours sooner. The timing of the DEC's arrival suggests that the responding agency didn't notify them until the operation was well under way.

I suspect a bit of the local anti-state, anti APA, anti granola eating backpacker attitude was at play here. The fire dept didn't want their authority usurped by the rangers, and they sure as hell weren't going to listen to a couple of backpackers, even though they clearly knew the area better and had already successfully navigated their way back from the accident site in a relatively short time in the dark.

Firefighters and paramedics may have a higher degree of life saving skills, but they do no one any good if they can't get to the accident site in a timely matter.

And this article is a subjective viewpoint, to be sure. But it's also a firsthand account of someone who was there and experienced the operation. To simply dismiss it because it paints the local responding agency in a negative light seems unreasonable.
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Old 07-19-2018, 12:36 PM   #25
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I was first on the scene of an accident on Giant Mtn. this winter. Once we ascertained the victim would require an evacuation I was about to deploy the SOS function on my Spot device. At that moment I saw the victim's friend texting on her phone so instead I called 911, explained the situation and was immediately patched through to the DEC dispatch.
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Old 07-19-2018, 12:44 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by madison View Post
We do know that her extraction took far longer than it needed to.
May I ask how "we" know that?
Just because Joe the aircraft mechanic (according to his LinkedIn page) had a hero streak to run to Walmart for chainsaws and shovels and feels the response to be inadequate (that he, personally, could have done it better) does not make that opinion a fact.

FWIW,
The tone of Joe's writing has a distinct elitist tinge.
Lynn was a more competent outdoors person, as far as credentials go anyways.

Place yourself in Lynn's shoes for a second - you have a party of four women who come upon a leanto (where they possibly planned to spend the night) to find two males in their 30's?. Their 'stuff' is strewn all over the shelter with "beers" rolling around in plain sight (by Joe's admission).

Do you tell your paying clients to cozy up to two strange guys who probably already had some of those "beers" or do you take your clients to a campsite elsewhere?

If someone really wants to know what was said in the 911 call and get a real time-line, all it takes is a FOIL request to Essex county dispatch and DEC.
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Old 07-19-2018, 02:13 PM   #27
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@bounder45

No question the author used dismissive, judgmental language. It was the author's personal view of the incident and few actors in the account seemed to rise to the author's expectations. That's why I suggested we look past all that and just examine what was achieved that evening.


The weather was not in their favor that night. One can understand why the first boat crew chose to abort. However, on the same night the second boat crew succeeded. There's value in understanding why one succeeded and the other did not. Factors might include unfamiliarity with the lake, limited piloting skills in rough waters, overloaded boat, etc. Or maybe it was only a matter fortunate timing (a lull in the storm) that allowed the 2nd crew to succeed. Anyway, worth a look-see because if it was a matter of training/skills then it should be addressed.

Good point about who reached the victim first. I honestly don't know enough about how fire fighters and rangers compare in backcountry first-aid. I kind of lean towards rangers having an edge because (it's my understanding) they're trained for handling backcountry rescues and administering first-aid in wilderness conditions (like that complex rescue effort a few years ago of the young man who fell on Nippletop's icy slide).

One thing I feel confident about and that's the DEC rangers will know the area and get there ASAP. Plus they have the training and experience to get the job done safely and expediently.

RE: DEC Ranger Dispatch. It's the two phone numbers already mentioned earlier. One general number and one specifically for the Adirondacks.
http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/677.html

I was in a group whose leader had to contact DEC rangers (to report overdue group members) and they picked up immediately. The dispatcher offered advice and if that didn't pan out they said to call back later and they'd dispatch a search team. Fortunately, the issue resolved itself within the allotted timeframe and the leader called the DEC to report all ended well.

Quote:
.. I called 911, explained the situation and was immediately patched through to the DEC dispatch
There you go! Perhaps it's just the luck of the draw regarding which dispatch center or dispatch operator you get. Apparently the person you reached knew it was a job for DEC rangers.


EDIT
When I think about, it would seem odd to see firefighters responding to an incident at Marcy Dam. About as odd as seeing DEC rangers responding to an incident in Lake Placid. I imagine there are situations when they may call upon one another for assistance but, at least in my mind, there's a clear division of responsibilities between the two.
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Old 07-19-2018, 02:34 PM   #28
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It's a reasonable assumption. The fire dept made 3 failed attempts to reach the accident site in the first few hours before the DEC got there. The first- the firefighter with the chainsaw in the canoe with the author and his partner- might very well have succeeded had the fire chief not made them come back. The hikers had, after all, succeeded in making it back there under similar conditions. When the DEC arrived about 4 hours after the initial 911 call, they knew exactly where to go, promptly launched a boat a boat and extracted the victim.

Whether or not Lynn was a more competent outdoors person seems irrelevant in this case. She was the victim. Joe and his partner were competent enough to make it down the 1.5mile trail and across the lake in the dark and in stormy conditions to go for help. They were both more competent outdoors people than the initial responding agency, to be sure.

The picture of "beers rolling around in plain sight" seems to be an assumption on your part. The timeline of the story has Joe and his partner drinking a few beers later, after Lynn and her party and gone through, around the fire. You also seem to be insinuating that Joe and his partner were drunk when the hiking party approached, I guess as a way to discredit them? Again, that assumption is not supported by this account.

You can disagree with Joe's assessment of the local response. You can dislike his tone. But the fact is, he was there. We weren't. He and his partner also went for help in the middle of the night in dangerous conditions to aid an injured hiker, at personal risk to themselves. I think they deserve some credit for that.
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Old 07-19-2018, 03:58 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by madison View Post
We do know that her extraction took far longer than it needed to. Had the local fire dept simply called the DEC rangers as soon as they were notified, it is likely she would have been reached hours sooner. The timing of the DEC's arrival suggests that the responding agency didn't notify them until the operation was well under way.

I suspect a bit of the local anti-state, anti APA, anti granola eating backpacker attitude was at play here. The fire dept didn't want their authority usurped by the rangers, and they sure as hell weren't going to listen to a couple of backpackers, even though they clearly knew the area better and had already successfully navigated their way back from the accident site in a relatively short time in the dark.
How do we know that the Rangers weren't contacted right away by the fire dept. and that it just took them a while to drive onto the scene?

How do we know the firefighters were anti-APA and were reluctant to bring in state authorities?

You seem to be judging and making assumptions about the firefighters purely based one person's subjective and emotional account.

The reason why I keep highlighting that the author's account is potentially biased is because people who read it may be inclined to make biased judgments/assumptions themselves, as you have just done.


@Trailboss,
I agree with much of what you're saying.

There may very well be lessons to be learned here. But it's important to develop an accurate context for those lessons before we decide to point the finger of blame (and I'm not saying that you are, rather just addressing the thread in general).

The Rangers are better-suited to SAR type missions than are most other state and local agencies. I do believe a lot of them have wilderness first aid training, but I'm not sure they're trained to the same standard as paramedics and firefighters (many of the latter are cross-trained as paramedics).

The author was coming across as a bit judgmental. I'm not saying that necessarily invalidates everything he's saying, but it's obvious that his bias can, and already has, influence how other people view the situation.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
RE: DEC Ranger Dispatch. It's the two phone numbers already mentioned earlier. One general number and one specifically for the Adirondacks.
http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/677.html
Thanks! I didn't realize the Rangers had their own dispatch. That's a good number to have at the ready.

Last edited by Bounder45; 07-20-2018 at 06:07 PM..
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Old 07-19-2018, 04:11 PM   #30
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For the record, I never insinuated that either Joe or Bill was drunk (at any point of their trip).

Joe himself writes:
"Our gear was strewn all over the floor of the lean-to, and we were sorting through our fishing stuff when four hikers approached"

"I brought a few beers from Connecticut, and Bill brought some from Vermont."

So if you consider the two statements, most likely several of the "few" and "some" "beers" were out in the open when "gear was strewn all over". One or two might have been open.

Think of how it would have looked to a professional guide and her clients. (even if no open containers of alcohol were present)

Further, statements like:
"We hoped they decided to continue hiking, or cut their trip short if they were worried about the storm. We pictured the four of them and their soaking wet packs piling into the lean-to with us during a thunderstorm. Then, we thought of spending the rest of the night being quizzed and corrected on our direction-finding skills by the grey-haired lady with the knee braces. Sounds like fun."

Should give you a good idea of authors mindset.

"She told us, in a loud enough voice that her three companions could hear, that they would “let us have the lean-to”"
"informed us—still loud enough for her group to hear—that Putnam Pond was southeast"

Why would Joe be surprised at a person, outside, on a pause from strenuous exercise (hiking) using an audible voice to converse between groups? I wasn't there and don't know...

Lynn merely had the courtesy of letting a pair of messy campers know that her group may seek shelter in leanto, if conditions warranted it later.

RE, "3 failed attempts"
The firefighter with chainsaw in canoe was probably not the 1st person sent out:
"We saw a paramedic come and quickly leave the area, and later learn that she and a firefighter are hiking in on one the trail from the campground"

Fire Chief was in charge of the incident, it take some nerve to question his judgement without a scant fact in hand. He recalled the canoe, only he knows why.

When DEC Rangers arrived later, conditions probably had changed. There are accounts of:
"DEC received notification of the incident at about 1 a.m. Saturday. The rescue crew found Malerba at about 2:30 a.m."
From: https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/v...n-malerba-dies

How unreasonable are those times in the middle of a severe weather outbreak?

Extracting (evacuating out of the woods) a pinned person is never the 1st priority, evaluating and stabilizing the person is...
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Old 07-19-2018, 04:59 PM   #31
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We hoped they decided to continue hiking, or cut their trip short if they were worried about the storm. We pictured the four of them and their soaking wet packs piling into the lean-to with us during a thunderstorm. Then, we thought of spending the rest of the night being quizzed and corrected on our direction-finding skills by the grey-haired lady with the knee braces. Sounds like fun.
This.

Honestly, this was one of the bits that rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe I'm old-school but if four people rolled in during a storm, I'd offer to quickly tidy up (it's easy to become sloppy in a lean-to) and make room to shelter them. It's a *public shelter*, first-come, first-served but not first-claimed; allow for max occupancy, especially on a wild and wooly night.

In addition, unless the author already had a bad run-in with the group leader earlier, all that speculation about being 'quizzed and corrected' seems terribly unfounded. It says unflattering things about the author's mindset at the time.

If I was in his shoes, at this point I'd have regrets for failing to convince them to share the lean-to.
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Old 07-19-2018, 05:06 PM   #32
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Just a quick side note regarding how I understand and usually function regarding lean-to etiquette. It there are 2 or 3 of us in an o/w empty L-T our stuff would be neatly organized and only occupy one third or half of the LT. You never know when someone else will show up. Anyone arriving should feel welcome and at ease in settling into the remaining empty space.

That doesn't mean they will necessarily want to share the LT with you but the choice should be theirs alone and not influenced by stuff strewn all over it.

One certainly hopes that in the tragic case under discussion that the state of the LT, when the 2nd group arrived, had nothing to do with the guide's decision to not use it.

Edit: Trail Boss posted while I was writing my post!
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Old 07-19-2018, 07:22 PM   #33
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I was driving in the So Adk in that storm. It was terrifying. For some reason I grabbed this screencap:

https://nyskiblog.com/wp-content/upl...der-storms.png
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Old 07-19-2018, 08:20 PM   #34
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OK, so let's ignore the author's subjectivity and focus on what was accomplished.
  • At personal risk they exited the woods and were able to contact authorities.
  • 911 operators had difficulty pinpointing a location that's off the grid.
  • Authorities were dispatched.
  • They arrived with necessary equipment.
  • The first rescue team set out on foot and became lost.
  • The second rescue team set out by boat but turned back due to darkness, the rough conditions, unfamiliarity with the lake, pick one or more reasons.
  • The DEC rangers were dispatched, arrived, set out by boat, extracted the victim, and transported her back to be evacuated by air to hospital.
Not trying to argue with you, only want to point out a few caveats.

Joe and Bill deserve the credit for reporting the incident, no argument there.

How do we know that 911 dispatcher had problem pinpointing the location? Do we have a transcript or recording of the call? How many calls did the dispatcher have to handle at the time? (remember, this is in aftermath of a storm)

Joe would not agree with you that authorities (first responders) arrived with necessary equipment. (He complains about "fixing" chainsaws, waiting for a boat, etc)

How can you be so confident that the first team of responders became "lost"? Even if they did loose the trail (at night, in the aftermath of a storm), they were the first people to travel the blow-down strewn trail.

In fact, how can any of us know how many teams of responders set out that night and when? The only person who has that info is the incident commander (Fire Chief)...
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Old 07-19-2018, 09:03 PM   #35
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Quote:
How do we know that 911 dispatcher had problem pinpointing the location?
This exchange led me to believe the dispatcher had trouble identifying the location

The 911 dispatcher kept asking me for a street address when I told her that it was a backcountry accident at Rock Pond. We went back and forth. “Putts Pond?” “No, Putnam Pond.” “Putts Pond Rd?” “No, the lady is out in the woods, you have to take a boat or hike to get to her.” “But it’s Putts Pond Rd?” The old lady was standing in the middle of her living room yelling “Putts Pond! It’s Putts Pond!” Eventually the dispatcher said she would send crews to the boat launch at Putnam Pond.

It's that or they had a bad connection and couldn't hear one another clearly (Putnam! Putts?).

Quote:
Joe would not agree with you that authorities (first responders) arrived with necessary equipment. (He complains about "fixing" chainsaws, waiting for a boat, etc)
This description suggests they turned out in force with the only failing being a motorless boat? That seems like an odd thing to overlook so maybe there's another explanation for its alleged lack of an outboard motor? As for waiting for another boat, maybe one look at the lake's condition and they did a Roy Scheider in Jaws: "We're gonna need a bigger boat!"

Pickup trucks and emergency vehicles soon cluttered the boat launch. One truck had in it an old boat with no outboard. Flashing lights, diesel fumes, and engine noise replaced the noise of the wind and the waves. We talked with a police officer and some firefighters, and offered to use our canoe to take a young firefighter and his chainsaw to Rock Pond. We saw a paramedic come and quickly leave the area, and later learn that she and a firefighter are hiking in on one the trail from the campground.


Quote:
How can you be so confident that the first team of responders became "lost"? Even if they did loose the trail (at night, in the aftermath of a storm), they were the first people to travel the blow-down strewn trail.
They did in fact lose the trail and ended up at the wrong pond and then called in for guidance to the right pond. That's a basic example of "lost" and described in this paragraph:

The chief was sitting in his pickup truck with another firefighter, listening to his two-way radio. He complained about the radios, telling us that the department spent a fortune on them and they didn’t even work right. Were the rescuers there yet? No, they were lost. It sounded like there were multiple groups of rescuers wandering aimlessly in the woods. One group contacted the chief—they hiked to the wrong pond. The chief wanted to know if we had a map—they needed to know where Rock Pond was. We told him that the map and GPS that Bill brought was in the lean-to. I handed my phone to Bill and he used the crude map on google to show the chief where the rescue party took a wrong turn and hiked to a different pond.

Quote:
… how can any of us know how many teams of responders set out that night and when?
I only described the teams that were mentioned in the account and no others. My understanding of the events is that the victim was extracted some time after the DEC rangers arrived. In other words, the rangers joined the people who were already at the accident site (at least one if not two other teams). If I gave the impression that the rangers were solely responsible for the rescue, that was not my intent.
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Old 07-19-2018, 10:08 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
This exchange led me to believe the dispatcher had trouble identifying the location

The 911 dispatcher kept asking me for a street address when I told her that it was a backcountry accident at Rock Pond. We went back and forth. “Putts Pond?” “No, Putnam Pond.” “Putts Pond Rd?” “No, the lady is out in the woods, you have to take a boat or hike to get to her.” “But it’s Putts Pond Rd?” The old lady was standing in the middle of her living room yelling “Putts Pond! It’s Putts Pond!” Eventually the dispatcher said she would send crews to the boat launch at Putnam Pond.

It's that or they had a bad connection and couldn't hear one another clearly (Putnam! Putts?).
That exchange sound to me like Joe was unable to provide the address he was calling from... (which is needed to open an incident ticket in dispatch system)
Also, seems like Joe is unfamiliar with local street / place names (hence the local resident gets so fed up with Joe going around in circles as to yell "Putts Pond! It's Putts Pond!")

Joe said he had a few beers, went to sleep in a storm and was waken up shortly. (he was tired, may not have been entirely sober, and at an unfamiliar place - street address of which he did not know)

Again, all of it is speculation without a transcript or recording.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
This description suggests they turned out in force with the only failing being a motorless boat? ...

Pickup trucks and emergency vehicles soon cluttered the boat launch. One truck had in it an old boat with no outboard. Flashing lights, diesel fumes, and engine noise replaced the noise of the wind and the waves. We talked with a police officer and some firefighters, and offered to use our canoe to take a young firefighter and his chainsaw to Rock Pond. We saw a paramedic come and quickly leave the area, and later learn that she and a firefighter are hiking in on one the trail from the campground.
If you're a volunteer fire fighter in a small town department and get a call in the middle of the night to respond to an incident, would you try to unload a boat you had in the bed of your pickup truck before driving to the scene?

Just one of the possibilities...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
They did in fact lose the trail and ended up at the wrong pond and then called in for guidance to the right pond. That's a basic example of "lost" and described in this paragraph:

The chief was sitting in his pickup truck with another firefighter, listening to his two-way radio. He complained about the radios, telling us that the department spent a fortune on them and they didn’t even work right. Were the rescuers there yet? No, they were lost. It sounded like there were multiple groups of rescuers wandering aimlessly in the woods. One group contacted the chief—they hiked to the wrong pond. The chief wanted to know if we had a map—they needed to know where Rock Pond was. We told him that the map and GPS that Bill brought was in the lean-to. I handed my phone to Bill and he used the crude map on google to show the chief where the rescue party took a wrong turn and hiked to a different pond.
Joe heard some partial radio traffic, made some assumptions and ran with that. Not knowing how many rescue parties were out in the woods and what trail heads they started from, one can not assume it was the paramedic and firefighter that Joe previously saw come and leave (who ended up at a wrong pond).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
I only described the teams that were mentioned in the account and no others. My understanding of the events is that the victim was extracted some time after the DEC rangers arrived. In other words, the rangers joined the people who were already at the accident site (at least one if not two other teams). If I gave the impression that the rangers were solely responsible for the rescue, that was not my intent.
Problem is, we simply don't know how many teams reached the victim and when...

EDIT:
Joe makes some serious allegations, his time-line does not match official report. If state agencies are deliberately misreporting the response to this incident, there's probably a personal injury attorney who would be interested in making a case...

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYS DEC
Town of Ticonderoga
Essex County
Rescue: On May 5 at 1:01 a.m., DEC Dispatch received a request for assistance from the New York State Police for a 60-year-old female from Tupper Lake trapped under a large tree at Rock Pond near Putnam Pond Campground. With high winds, downed trees, and widespread power outages in the area, three Forest Rangers responded but were unable to drive to the location. The Rangers utilized a boat and had to cut through several felled trees to make it to the subject by 2:30 a.m. With continued high winds and heavy rain, Forest Rangers and local Fire Department personnel worked together to remove a large tree that had pinned the subject. She was packaged in a stokes litter, carried out to a boat, and brought across the pond to the Putnam Pond Campground Boat Launch, where she was turned over to Ticonderoga EMS. The subject was then flown by helicopter to a hospital in Vermont for treatment. The incident concluded at 7:30 a.m., and the patient remains in critical condition.
https://www.dec.ny.gov/press/113595.html
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Old 07-20-2018, 06:57 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post

It's that or they had a bad connection and couldn't hear one another clearly (Putnam! Putts?)
Putnam Pond is also known locally as Putts Pond, and the road that leads to Putnam Pond is named Putts Pond Rd, as the street sign indicates on Route 74. The author (from Connecticut) is clearly unaware of that fact and/or must have not noticed the street sign, hence the confusion.
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Old 07-20-2018, 09:42 AM   #38
Justin
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Last time I was at Putnam Pond there was a register directly adjacent to the launch area. In that register kiosk there was a number to call in case of emergency.
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Old 07-21-2018, 07:01 AM   #39
Deb dePeyster
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Right near the registration booth at Putnam Pond there's a satellite phone that's available to anyone. All emergency numbers are posted. I asked to use it for a work-related call and was told "sure." Service isn't available during bad weather, though.
For cell service you have to go out to the highway and travel about 2 miles in the direction of Ticonderoga, a one-way trip of about 5 miles from the campground.
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Old 07-21-2018, 10:43 AM   #40
Bob K
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A positive story about DEC dispatch - not involving a rescue (happily).

I’m a long time ADK hiker, paddler & backcountry skier – often solo, and happy to say that I have yet to have an emergency in the woods.

Two years ago I was playing golf in March while doing my snowbird thing in Naples FL. My cell phone rang and it was DEC dispatch calling me to check to see if I needed help. I had apparently made two “butt dial” calls to them from my phone. I assured the operator that I was indeed fine and enjoying great weather on the 3rd fairway. I expressed my apologies for the accidental calls and thanks for their diligent follow-up. (I have it listed as ADK dispatch – first of my contacts alphabetically).

Among my top safety concerns when hiking/camping is falling trees (widow makers) and choking on food with no one there to help. I am less concerned about getting lost, becoming immobile (such as breaking a limb) or non-catastrophic illness. This in part due to always informing my wife of planned route(s) and a time to call DEC dispatch – a number I provide her and always have on my cell phone. Sure I have survival stuff with me but it is sure nice to know that professional help is available in the woods. I have met many rangers & some ECOs and all have been positive encounters.

I also make a point to sign in at every register I pass. I’m a regular at Putnam Pond and have hiked & camped throughout that area, including many bushwhacks. The story in this thread was sobering for several reasons and I have recounted it to several friends.
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