STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO ON RESCUE BY FIRST RESPONDERS AFTER LAKE PLACID PLANE CRASH
Friday, February 22, 2013
“The actions last night of Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers, State Police, and local emergency personnel demonstrated the unwavering dedication and tireless commitment of our state’s first responders to protecting New Yorkers and those who visit our state. Responding to a small plane crash near Lake Placid, a team of DEC Forest Rangers walked miles in the bitter cold and dark through rough terrain to find and safely rescue three individuals who were in the aircraft.
“I commend the DEC Rangers who conducted this rescue, Lt. Charles Platt, Joe LaPierre, Scott VanLaer, Jim Giglinto, Kevin Burns, David Russell, Pete Evans, and Chris Kostoss, as well as the members of the State Police and local emergency response personnel who helped with this rescue.
“No matter the weather conditions or the time of day, our state’s first responders step up to the call of duty and do what is necessary to find and rescue people that are lost or injured. These first responders went above and beyond to save lives and on behalf of all New Yorkers I thank them for their bravery and service.”
Information on the rescue is below:
At 6:32 p.m. DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook was contacted by State Police seeking Forest Ranger response to a plane crash in a wooded area near the Lake Placid Airport. Temperatures were forecasted to drop into the single digits with snow showers throughout the night.
Essex County 911 was in contact with the three male occupants of the airplane all of Westfield, NJ 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 approximately 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 pm 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 in attempt to stay warm.
At 10:50 pm 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. It was determined through discussions with others
that the original coordinates were provided in untypical format. Plotting the coordinates in the other format it was determined that 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 and 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 am. 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.
State Police are providing site security pending investigation by the FAA.
Additional news available at www.governor.ny.gov
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