Injured hiker rescued by eight fire departments and a leaf blower

Man using commercial leaf blower to gather fallen leaves
(Image credit: Getty)

A huge team of rescuers came to the aid of a hiker injured in New Hampshire at the weekend, and used an unusual piece of equipment to help get her to safety – a powerful leaf blower. 

In a press release, New Hampshire Fish and Game explained that its officers responded to calls about an injured hiker on Saturday, along with eight fire departments, an ambulance service, and a local search and rescue team.

The hiker, identified as 42-year-old Christine Mellnick, was found on the Wentworth Trail on Mount Israel in Sandwich, almost two miles from the trailhead, but she was unable to walk due to an ankle injury and slippery fall leaves made the rescue tricky. 

"The rescue was complicated due to the recent heavy foliage accumulation of oak and beech leaves," said NH Fish and Game. "A backpack leaf blower was utilized to clear the trail of leaves for the first 1.1 miles to reduce the slip hazard and enable the crews to safely navigate the rocky trail."

Rescuers used a litter to carry Mellnick to the trailhead, where she was met and driven to hospital by a friend. On Monday she posted a message on hiking website Alltrails explaining that she had broken her ankle after slipping on a rock hear the summit.

"Other than that it's a beautiful half day hike with a nice view," she wrote. "I splurged and got the sunset cruise down in the basket... so yeah it's slippery out there folks. Good news is the first 1.1 miles is currently clear of leaves."

Hiking alone can be a great way to reconnect with nature, but it's important to take precautions as injuries could leave you stranded. Always research your hike in advance so you know what to expect, stick to popular trails, let someone know where you're going and when you expect to be back, and take a fully charged phone.

NH Fish & Game took the opportunity to remind hikers not to venture out without the 10 essentials: a map, compass (and the knowledge to use it), warm clothing, food and water, headlamp, fire starter, first aid kit, whistle, rain/wind jackets and pants, and a knife. Check out our roundups of the best headlamps and the best camping knives for some good options.

  • Hiking alone
Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.