- Associated Press - Friday, May 5, 2017

BETHLEHEM, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire hiker who was found in waist-deep snow two days after getting lost in the White Mountain National Forest was in good condition at a hospital, a spokesman said Friday.

Rescuers found Randy Willett, 53, of Manchester, on Thursday night in the snowbank on the eastern side of the 5,089-foot Mount Lincoln.

A National Guard helicopter located tracks around 8:15 p.m. that led them to Willett. Officials said Willett aided the helicopter pilot by flashing a red light.

“It’s described to me as waist- to chest-deep snow on that side of the ridge,” Lt. Jim Kneeland of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department told WMUR-TV (https://bit.ly/2q74pXy). “Very rarely sees the sun. Very deep and hard to traverse through.”

Willett had set out for a four-day hike last Friday. At about 2:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Fish and Game officials were notified of a 911 call from Willett, who said he was lost and not on a trail. He also said he had fallen into a brook. The call was dropped before he could give any other details, and officials were unable to determine his location. But they reached Willett’s family, which gave them his agenda for the hike in the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

Fish and Game conservation officers began searching trails on Tuesday. They suspended the search after dark and resumed Wednesday. By Thursday, weather conditions allowed the transport of searchers around Franconia and Lincoln Brook drainages. The National Guard and Civil Air Patrol conducted a search. That afternoon, they got another 911 call from Willett and lost contact again, but were able to place him near an area between Mount Lafayette and Mount Lincoln.

Willett was found about six-tenths of a mile from the coordinates received through 911.

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