Injured hiker airlifted to hospital by National Guard helicopter

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JAFFREY –– A 65-year-old hiker who suffered a serious head injury was rescued by the New Hampshire Army National Guard helicopter and multiple ground responders at Monadnock State Park on Tuesday, September 19, 2023.

Cynthia Bissell of Barre was descending the White Dot Trail just above the upper junction when she fell. Her hiking companion was able to call for help, which led to a response from the NH Fish and Game Department Conservation Officers.

A Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Mountain Patrol Ranger, who was also an EMT, and a park volunteer hiked to Bissell’s location. Due to the seriousness of her injuries, a medical helicopter was requested.

Bissell was placed in a litter and carried down the trail to the nearest landing zone with the help of passing hikers.

However, the Dartmouth Hitchcock Advanced Response Team (DHART) helicopter had to abort their landing due to poor weather conditions.

The Conservation Officers then contacted the New Hampshire Army National Guard for a helicopter extraction.

At 4:45 p.m., the weather conditions improved and the National Guard helicopter was able to land and pick up Bissell. By 5:05 p.m., Bissell was transferred to Concord Hospital.

The helicopter extraction resulted in Bissell reaching hospital care several hours earlier than if she had been carried down the mountain.

Conservation Officers expressed their gratitude to all responding agencies and the Good Samaritans who assisted in the rescue.

They also reminded outdoor enthusiasts to dress appropriately, hike in groups, and carry necessary equipment. They encouraged people to visit www.hikesafe.com for a list of recommended hiking gear.

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