New Hampshire officials are considering charging the family of an 80-year-old wanderer for the cost of his hour-long rescue mission.
In addition, they charge two family members with charges of leaving members who left the man to walk alone.
James Clark was found in a fetal position on Mount Washington, New Hampshire on Thursday night, showing signs of hypothermia "to the point that he could not speak clear or discernible words." The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said in a press release with.
Clark, from Dublin, Ohio, attempted to scale the Lion Head Trail in Sargent's Purchase with two family members when they left him behind. The family members climbed the summit of Mount Washington without Clark and later descended on a different path.
They were worried and called rescue workers around 7:45 pm. Thursday, when Clark had not reached the top. The family members told the authorities that Clark had no night equipment and no cell phone or light.
Temperatures at the summit were, according to official figures, below freezing with a wind cold of 12 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain and thick fog led to icy conditions.
New Hampshire Fish and Game Lt. Mark Ober said on Tuesday that Clark was not ready to walk in these weather conditions and was not wearing appropriate clothing. Ober informed The Associated Press that his agency could recommend to the Prosecutor General's Office that Clark's family pay the cost of the rescue mission.
The cost of the mission has not yet been determined.
Fish and Game Major Dave Walsh told the New Hampshire Union Leader that criminal charges are also possible because Clark had to walk alone and his family members did not go back to look for him.
"Perhaps that's something we pay attention to when we ask the Attorney General for negligent walking," he said. I do not know his physical condition, but he is 80 years old. "
Clark was found late Thursday night on the Lion Head trail. He had to be changed into dry clothes and put in a sleeping bag for warming up.
"Three rescue teams continued to keep Clark warm and alive when volunteer saviors were called to participate in the lifesaving event," the agency said in its press release.
Another rescue team reached Clark at around 1:15 am on Friday, bringing him nearly three miles to a street from which he was ambushed to hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. threatening.
Fish and Wildlife Commissioners, the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue Team helped with the rescue.
Clark told the union leader that the family members he was with were his grandchildren at the age of 19 and 14, and they had planned for the two teenagers to walk at their own pace and catch up with Clark later. He said they did that before when they hiked in New York and Vermont.
"If someone is to blame, it's me and not these guys," Clark said. "I'm the one who insisted they keep going, so any negligence on my part."
Associated Press added.