- Associated Press - Friday, September 15, 2017

LINCOLN, N.H. (AP) - Three teenagers dressed in shorts and sneakers and without the recommended safety tools for hiking outdoors were rescued at least two hours after they left their group and got lost - an avoidable scare that happens all too often, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department officers said Friday.

The teens, from Becket School in Plymouth, were found uninjured late Thursday near the summit of Little Haystack Mountain, near Lincoln. Conservation officers gave them flashlights and clothing to help them hike back down. The teens had become separated from a counselor and another student.

“It perplexes me that hikers who start as a group do not finish as a group,” said Lt. James Kneeland in New Hampton, adding that calls frequently come about lost hikers.

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Kneeland said New Hampshire has a “hiker responsibility code” that says hikers should stay together and that also lists essential tools for hiking, including a map, food, water and warm clothing.

New Hampshire sells HikeSafe cards that help support searches and rescues and that exempt cardholders from reimbursing authorities for rescue costs. Authorities can pursue reimbursement if they decide negligence was involved.

It wasn’t immediately known if costs would be pursued in Friday’s rescue.

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