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Monroe hunter, 72, injured in ATV crash; fired shots to attract attention

MONROE - A 72-year-old Monroe man lay alongside a trail for hours after the all-terrain vehicle he was riding flipped backward on top of him in the woods Wednesday.

In considerable pain, Irving "Big Fella" Lang of Coppermine Road fired three shots into the air, hoping to attract someone's attention.

"It's hunting season, so even if anyone did hear those shots he fired, they wouldn't have paid any attention. I heard seven shots myself earlier yesterday morning," said Dick Blanchard, a friend of Lang's who found his friend "sprawled out on the ground" some four hours after the accident.

Lang was listed in fair condition Thursday at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, according to a DHMC spokeswoman.

Lang was preparing to go hunting in the woods off Plain Road Wednesday morning when he lost control of the ATV about 9:30 while headed up a steep trail, New Hampshire Fish & Game officials said in a news release.

Blanchard - who is well-acquainted with Lang and lives about a mile from him - said he was on his way to hunt when he came across Lang.

"I asked him what happened, and he said, 'I screwed up,'" Blanchard said Thursday.

"I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, or maybe not. I guess I could've come along about four hours earlier," Blanchard said.

"Big Fella," according to Blanchard, is the nickname by which most people know Lang, a retired heavy equipment operator.

Lang was not pinned under the ATV, according to Blanchard, who said the four-wheeler landed nearby on its wheels. But he suffered an injured shoulder and ribs, and Blanchard told him to stay put while he summoned help.

"I do know enough not to try to move someone who's had a serious injury, possibly a neck injury. I got Vermont 911 and was transferred to New Hampshire," he said.

His cell phone's battery got low while he waited on the phone, Blanchard said, so he thought to call his father, Philip "P.J." Blanchard, who was familiar with the remote location and was able to lead rescuers to the scene.

Help reached Lang and Blanchard about an hour later as mid-afternoon approached. The Monroe Fire Department, Woodsville Ambulance, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team and Fish & Game conservation officers responded.

"Once Mr. Lang was placed on the litter, he was transported out of the woods on a trailer pulled by an ATV to the awaiting Woodsville Ambulance for further evaluation. After Mr. Lang was given the appropriate initial medical care, he was flown" by DHART helicopter to DHMC, Fish and Game said in a news release.

Dick Blanchard's mother, Norene Blanchard, described Lang as a "wonderful man" who lives alone at his Plains Road home and has two grown children.

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Bob Hookway may be reached at

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