Gov. Andrew Cuomo held ceremonies recently to honor the Forest Rangers who participated in the Feb. 21 rescue efforts.
continued Essex County 911 was in contact with the three male occupants of the airplane all of Westfield, N.J., who indicated they were in good condition. They provided coordinates of the crash site which were relayed to DEC Dispatch. When the coordinates were plotted on a map the site of the plane crash was near the summit of Nye Mountain, a trail-less High Peak just west of the Adirondack Loj.
Two DEC Forest Rangers initially responded to the Mount Jo Trailhead on the Adirondack Loj road and headed to the crash site on snowshoes and carrying cold weather gear for the crash victims. A second team of four Forest Rangers started a short while later carrying equipment for evacuating the three men.
A helicopter from the State Police Aviation Unit was also dispatched from the Lake Clear Airport but at 7:35 p.m. advised that they were unable to reach the crash site due to weather and darkness.
A Forest Ranger was in direct phone contact with the men at the crash site. They reported they had erected a tarp as a temporary shelter and put on extra clothing to attempt to stay warm.
At 10:50 p.m., Forest Rangers concluded that Nye Mountain location was not the correct location. At about this same time the first two Forest Rangers had hiked three miles to the crash site and confirmed there was no airplane present. Ranger determined the original coordinates were provided in atypical format. Plotting the coordinates in the standard format, Rangers determined the crash site was actually just west of Lake Placid near Big Burn Mountain.
The second group of forest rangers was redirected from Nye Mountain to Big Burn Mountain where they were joined by a another ranger. The Forest Rangers were able to reach the crash site by snowmobile via the Jack Rabbit Trail and bushwhacking on snowshoes the last half mile. The crash site was one mile from the road. The three men were located by the Forest Rangers at 1:55 a.m. The men were evacuated by snowmobile to the Whiteface Inn Road Trailhead where they were evaluated by the Lake Placid Rescue Squad. It was determined the men were fine and they declined any further medical treatment or transport.