FRANCONIA, New Hampshire — Two trail runners were airlifted from a New Hampshire mountain over the weekend after one man lost his shoes and continued running barefoot through several feet of snow, officials said.
State Fish and Game Department conservation officers were called to Mount Lafayette before 1 p.m. Saturday after Michael Burleson, 35, of Gorham, Maine, and Nicholas Drouin, 34, of North Hampton, contacted 911 for help, The New Hampshire Union-Leader reported.
The hikers told conservation officers that they were trying to complete a popular trail loop in four hours but lost the path as they descended from the mountain amid 40 mph winds, snow and freezing temperatures.
While trekking through deep snow one of the men lost his trail running shoes and decided to continue barefoot before being forced to stop “due to frozen extremities,” officials said in a statement.
The two used a cellphone to call emergency responders, then placed their feet into a pack and waited for rescuers, according to the Fish and Game Department.
Conservation officers and volunteers from the Pemi Valley Search and Rescue Team responded, and an Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter later joined the search and found the men, the Union-Leader said.
Both hikers were hoisted onto the aircraft and taken to a hospital for evaluation of cold weather injuries.
The conditions of the hikers were not given Sunday.