SARGENT’S PURCHASE — Conservation officers say a Philadelphia man who suffered a medical condition while hiking Mt. Washington Saturday called 911 then hiked down after deciding they “did not want to wait” for help to arrive.
According to New Hampshire Fish and Game Lt. Mark W. Ober, around 6 p.m. Saturday conservation officers were notified of a hiker reportedly suffering from a medical condition on the Crawford Path, approximately three-quarters of a mile from the summit of Mt. Washington.
According to Ober the hiker, identified as Emil Babu, of Philadelphia, Pa., was hiking with two other companions when he started experiencing difficulty breathing and asked one of his companions to call 911.
According to Ober, Babu and his hiking companions lacked extra food, water, lights or adequate warm clothing and with temperatures at the summit near freezing, a rescue effort was launched.
Conservation Officers and two volunteers from Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (AVSAR) responded to the summit of Mt. Washington and hiked down the Crawford Path to evaluate Babu’s condition and determine if they would need a larger rescue effort.
Unable to locate Babu and his companions within the first mile, the rescuers continued searching along the path, all the way to Lakes of the Clouds Hut, and were still unable to locate the trio.
After several attempts to call the cellphone of the hikers failed, Ober reported, contact was finally made at approximately 9:30 p.m.
Babu and his companions told rescuers they had decided they did not want to wait for the time it would take the rescuers to reach them and instead decided to try to hike back down the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail — a distance of more than 4 miles — on their own, and failed to call authorities to inform rescuers.
The team discontinued the search effort and returned to the summit, Ober said.
Babu’s group managed to keep hiking down after getting headlamps from another hiker they had come across along the way, and made it out to the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trailhead at approximately 1 a.m. Ober said.
No further information was available Sunday.