National Guard helicopter rescues injured hiker after he had to survive overnight in White Mountains

  • A hiker was rescued by helicopter off Mount Lincoln on Thursday after spending the night in a steep area known as Lincoln’s Throat. Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 1/2/2020 2:59:56 PM

A helicopter from the Army National Guard in Concord had to be called in to rescue a hiker who had fallen down a ravine known as Lincoln’s Throat in the White Mountains and spent a night in the freezing, snowy woods until he could be found.

According to New Hampshire Fish and Game, Matthew Gunby, 36, of Meredith was hiking the Franconia Ridge Trail between Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Lafayette when “whiteout conditions” caused by wind and snow made him lose the trail. 

“He ended up falling down a steep rocky section into Walker Brook drainage suffering an upper-body injury in the process. Unable to make his way back up to the Franconia Ridge trail due to his injury, Gunby called 911 for help,” Fish and Game said in a statement.

Officials said he fell and slid about 70 feet down the mountain. 

GPS in the White Mountains is not always accurate, however, and the phone indicated that Gunby was in a different area, the Dry Brook drainage. Fish and Game Conservation Officers and volunteers from Mountain Rescue Services searched that area until 3 a.m. Thursday.

On Thursday morning Gunby called 911 again, producing better location coordinates.

“Due to the remote, steep location of this coordinate, and his weakened physical state due to overnight exposure to cold, snowy, and windy conditions, a call was made to the National Guard requesting their Blackhawk helicopter,” said Fish and Game.

The helicopter responded from Concord, leaving at 10 a.m. “By 10:11 a.m., the helicopter crew had located Gunby and 15 minutes later had safely hoisted him into the helicopter,” Fish and Game said. 

The helicopter landed at the Cannon Mountain. Gunby was taken to Littleton Regional Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

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