Train helps rescue hiker who survived 200ft fall down Mount Washington

By Associated Press reporter

A hiker descending Mount Washington in the US who fell about 200 feet was rescued with the help of a train that takes visitors up and down the summit during tourism season.

New Hampshire Fish and Game conservation officers said the hiker, Ashley Furness, 35, of Bartlett, was with a companion when she slipped and fell, striking several rocks.

She was descending along the rail tracks and was about two miles up from the railway station.

“It was these rocks that ultimately saved her from plunging into the ravine, a fall that would have likely proved fatal,” said Lt Mark Ober Jr. “Her companion was able to descend to her position, place a call for help and keep her warm with a space blanket until rescuers arrived.”

Rescuers could only get so far using an ATV and snowmobiles. There was no snow. Crews hiked the rest of the way and reached Ms Furness after several hours, but her injuries were severe and she could not walk, Lt Ober said.

Due to the steep, icy, terrain and remote location, the Cog Railway prepared a train to retrieve Ms Furness. The train reached her and returned to a waiting ambulance at the base.

“Without the use of the train, we were looking at a potentially all-night rescue scenario which would have included calling in several dozen additional rescuers and technical rope teams just to get the injured hiker down the mountain safely,” Lt Ober said.

Mount Washington is the tallest mountain in the north-east of America, with a summit of 6,288 feet.