Thursday, December 6, 2007

Lost hunter found

From the Associated Press: Dec 5, 8:15 PM EST

Missing hunter found two days after going missing

MADRID, Maine (AP) -- A missing hunter from Vermont was found in the rugged mountains of western Maine Wednesday afternoon two days after he went missing while deer hunting with friends.

Steven Wright, 53, of Woodford, Vt., was coherent when he was found by a snowmobiler on the side of Jackson Mountain about 15 miles south of Route 4 in the unorganized territory of Township 6, said Maine Warden Service spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte. He was flown to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston for treatment after being in the bitter cold and snow for two days.

Wright set out on Tumbledown Mountain in Byron on Monday morning and became separated from two other hunters, Michael Harrington and Barry Bishop of Bennington, Vt., as they were tracking a deer during Maine's muzzleloader hunting season.

A storm that blanketed Maine with fresh snow left 15 inches or more on the ground Monday in the area where Wright was missing. A search began Tuesday, and two planes and two helicopters aided ground searchers.

Wright was found by Donald Eisenhaur, 68, of Madrid, about 11 miles from where Wright and his friends had set out hunting.

Eisenhaur told officials that Wright was wet and covered with ice when he found him, and that his muzzleloader and GPS device were frozen.

Before Eisenhaur went out for a "joy ride" on his snowmobile, his wife told him to keep his eye out for the lost hunter.

When Eisenhaur came across Wright, he at first thought he was a moose on the trail. But as he approached, he saw it was a man, and surmised that Wright had heard his sled's engine and crawled to the trail.

Eisenhaur placed Wright on the front seat of the snowmobile and talked to him on the ride home, according to the Maine Warden Service. Wright slumped over several times during the ride, hitting his head on the sled's stop button and causing it to shut down.

Wright was wearing cold-weather clothing and an orange vest and hat. He was also carrying a GPS device and a compass, but it was unclear if he had input his location of if the batteries were dead, Turcotte said.

Wright also had packed a survival kit with matches and a radio but had left it in his truck, Turcotte said.

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