Many of us followed the events very closely a couple of weeks ago, as State Police, Forest Rangers, and local volunteer crews worked urgently to try to locate Donald Combs, an 84-year-old hiker missing in the southern Adirondacks.
Combs vanished in the Black River Wild Forest in Forestport in Herkimer County. When he failed to return home, his family called 911.
Now State Police have released a photograph showing the moment when Combs was located by a trooper named Mark Bender and his K-9 dog Mandin.
“Mr. Combs was weak and dehydrated but he was alert and able to identify himself,” State Police say. “He was air-lifted out of the dense brush and taken to St. Luke’s Memorial Hospital Center in Utica for treatment.”
The image is a powerful reminder of the work that these state and local rescue crews — including many volunteers — do when people go missing in the Adirondack North Country. In this case, officials say crews searched an area that included roughly 2,000 acres of difficult terrain.
I also love that these K-9 units played such a big role in the search. This from the State Police release:
Members from the New York State Police Canine Unit who assisted in the extensive search included Trooper Shaun Smith and his K9 Doyle, Trooper Kevin Conners and his Bloodhound Lynde, and Trooper Daniel Snyder with his K9 Dillon. Special recognition also goes out to the Woodgate Fire Department, the Search and Rescue Federation and the many other volunteer organizations for this successful outcome.