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For Release: Monday, March 7, 2016

DEC Commends Forest Rangers and State Police and for Search and Rescue Operations

DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the completion of rescue and recovery operations, by New York State Forest Rangers and State Police spanning more than 16 hours Saturday in the Adirondack backcountry.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Davis family for the loss of Hua Davis, who tragically lost her life on MacNaughton Mountain on Saturday," said Acting Commissioner Seggos. "I commend our Forest Rangers and State Police for their heroic efforts searching for her, and then subsequently rescuing one of their own from a life threatening situation."

On Saturday, March 5, 2016 Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers began searching for an overdue hiker who did not return to her hiking party the night before. After locating the subject's car at the Adirondak Loj, Forest Rangers began an immediate and extensive search of MacNaughton Mountain and the surrounding area. After searching most of the day through snow, mud and cold temperatures, Forest Rangers found 61-year-old Hua Davis, of Wilmington, DE deceased on the western slopes of MacNaughton Mountain and then worked with New York State Police helicopter to transport her to Lake Placid Airport.

After completing the recovery operation in difficult backcountry terrain, as Forest Rangers hiked out a Forest Ranger fell through the ice of a brook and was submerged chest deep while carrying a 50-pound backpack. Fellow Rangers quickly pulled their colleague from the icy water, changed his clothes and stabilized his core temperature while the outdoor air temperature was in the lower 20's.

The Rangers requested an emergency extraction to prevent frostbite and hypothermia from overtaking the Forest Ranger. New York State Police and Forest Rangers, using night vision goggles, preformed a difficult, nighttime rescue operation in the Adirondack wilderness to secure the Rangers and transport them to Lake Placid Airport. The Forest Ranger was determined to be in stable condition and after warming up was sent back into service.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the backcountry.

"Across New York, DEC's Forest Rangers' are on the front lines helping people safely enjoy the great outdoors," added Acting Commissioner Seggos. "Their extensive training and knowledge of first aid, land navigation and technical rescue techniques prepare them for any difficult situation. From this weekend's operation, it's clear that the unexpected can occur anytime in the backcountry even to the most experienced, and I commend our Forest Rangers for using their skills and training to rescue one of their own."

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC's Hiking Safety and Adirondack Trail Information webpages for more information.

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