Missing hiker from Massachusetts found dead

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CUTTS GRANT — The body of William Donovan, the hiker who had been missing since April 16, was located by searchers in the Dry River today around 10:30 a.m. Searches were directed to this new search area by gear and a jacket believed to have belonged to Donovan that was found over the weekend in the river by hikers and reported to Fish and Game.

This evidence helped focus the search and his body was ultimately located approximately 400 feet upstream from the jacket.

The initial search team comprised conservation officers and drone teams from Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (AVSAR), New England K9 (NEK9), and Upper-Valley Wilderness Response Team (UVWRT).

The body was located just over 2.5 miles in from Route 302.

The searchers worked for hours to extricate the body from beneath a large boulder.

But due to the size of the boulder, freezing cold water temperatures and lack of tools required to move such a boulder, additional resources were called to assist.

Twin Mountain Fire Department provided gear and tools, and dozens of SAR volunteers from Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (AVSAR), Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue (PEMI SAR), and Mountain Rescue Services (MRS) all responded to assist.

These volunteers hiked in the extra tools and gear over 2.5 miles, then assisted in carrying Donovan’s body back out.

The teams arrived out to Route 302 with the body at 6:40 p.m.

It is not known what brought Donovan into the Dry River Wilderness and it is unknown how he entered the water, but it appears he likely was somehow forced off the ridge, likely due to high winds or adverse weather, between Mt. Monroe and Mt. Eisenhower during his hike and ended up in very difficult and desolate terrain of the Dry River Wilderness.

The body was relayed to the State Medical Examiners Officer in Concord for autopsy.

No further information is available at this time.

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