Aleeza Shaikh, 26, from Jersey City, will probably be billed for a preventable rescue. She called 911 to be rescued after straying off from the Liberty Spring Trail in Lincoln, New Hampshire. The Fish and Game Department says that the reasons for billing are that the hiker was unprepared for the harsh conditions of the trail and had underestimated the time needed to complete it. It urges hikers to plan ahead and prevent these kinds of situations.
Shaikh’s Hiking Companion Called 911
The department quickly responded and sent out a search and rescue party. Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue team members and a conservation officer met the hiker at 5:56, almost an hour and a half after the initial call was made. She was coming down the trail and was about one mile from the trailhead.
The officials say that Aleeza Shaikh, 26, from New Jersey, was found lying on the trail by another group of hikers, who had assisted her in getting up and starting mowing down towards the parking lot.
Shaikh needed only minor assistance from the rescue team while they were coming down. They reached the Liberty Springs parking lot by 7 p.m.
The Hiker Will Be Billed for the Rescue Due to Her Lack of Planning and Preparation
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department stated that the hikers were planning a day trip and didn’t have any equipment needed to spend the night in the mountains.
The news release also noted that many people underestimate the time they need to complete the hike, especially in winter conditions. The department urges hikers to plan their trips and hikes ahead and bring the necessary equipment.
People Must Be Aware of Their Physical Capabilities, Weather, and Terrain Conditions
The Fish and Game Law Enforcement Chief Colonel Kevin Jordan says that people hiking in the White Mountains area in the winter should be realistic about their physical limitations and be aware that the area has rapidly changing weather conditions and unreliable cellular service. He added that unsafe and reckless behavior puts them and the rescuers at increased risk of injury.
Preparation Is Important
Jordan also highlighted unjustified trust people have in smartphones with built-in flashlights and GPS navigation. He advised people to carry flashlights, paper maps, compasses (and learn how to use them), warm clothing, first aid kits, extra food and water, matches, and other necessities for a stay in the wilderness.
Specialized pieces of equipment like a dedicated GPS watch with marked hiking trails and topographical maps can also be helpful. Some of the best even have fall and incident detection and call emergency services automatically. Considering that falls are the 2nd leading cause of unintentional injury, it is a reasonable precaution.