Multiple rescue groups ferry injured Jay hiker to Tumbledown Mountain summit for helicopter airlift

·3 min read

Aug. 31—WELD — A Jay woman was carried Monday afternoon by rescuers to the top of Tumbledown Mountain for a helicopter extraction after she was injured while hiking.

Nicole Stanford, 45, was flown to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington after suffering a broken leg on the Brook Trail about one-quarter of a mile from the top of Tumbledown, according to information provided by the Maine Warden Service.

Stanford was one of two people in her hiking party.

The injury occurred at about 3:15 p.m. and was reported about 15 minutes later.

Maine Warden Service, Weld, Phillips and Wilton fire departments, Franklin and Mahoosuc Search and Rescue organizations, Maine Forest Service and Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands participated in the rescue.

According to Franklin Search and Rescue Facebook page, a team was assembled to hike in and locate the hiker as rescuers from all over the region responded.

"The hasty team found the woman with a broken tibia and fibula amongst the boulder fields roughly (one-quarter mile) from the summit of Brook Trail. With daylight rapidly ending, the Warden Service called for helicopter support from the Maine Forest Service. Rescuers made the difficult decision to ascend to the tarn atop Tumbledown for a helicopter extraction of the injured hiker rather than risk the dangerous carry down the boulder-strewn trail in the dark," according to Franklin Search and Rescue.

"Fortunately, rescuers encountered a trail maintenance crew working the area on the way up, and that group helped (Franklin Search and Rescue), Weld Fire, local (emergency medical services) and the wardens carry the hiker to the summit. With solid teamwork from all involved, the hiker was safely loaded onto the Forest Service's helicopter and transported to a local hospital for treatment of her non-life threatening injuries," according to the post.

"It was really good to see so many respond to the Wardens' call for assistance," Franklin Search and Rescue wrote.

All told, the rescue team hiked roughly 7 miles round-trip, with numerous scouting trips, and ascended approximately 1,200 vertical feet performing the rescue.

According to an update on the Facebook page, Stanford wrote, "I can't even put into words how grateful I am. I am home safe and resting with a broken left tibia and fibula. Thank you so much for caring for me and making me feel calm and safe. You all are literally superheroes.

"I am a huge ball of emotions today as I try to process what all these amazing people did for me yesterday. I don't think that I could ever thank them enough, but I will spend unlimited energy trying," Stanford wrote.

"I was so damn lucky. To the rescue crew, all of the hikers on the trail who stopped to assist, the ones who sat with us and kept my son distracted until rescue crews arrived, the crew of the helicopter who held my hand on my sunset ride down from the top and the staff at Franklin Memorial Hospital who were so kind and took such good care of me...thank you!! I know you all told me to stop apologizing, but I am sorry that I added to your workload yesterday," she wrote.