Injured hiker rescued on snow-covered Appalachian Trail March 15

A hiker injured while starting a campfire was rescued on the Appalachian Trail near Hawk Mountain Road in Albany Township on March 15. First responders hiked through more than 18 inches of snow to reach the hiker and apply a tourniquet to control bleeding in his partially severed left hand.

Kempton Fire Chief Ethan Kunkel said Kempton Fire Company was the first to respond to the call that came in at 10:22 p.m. on March 15. The 34-year-old hiker from Exton, whose name was not released, partially severed his left hand while starting a campfire. Kunkel said he did not know what the hiker was using to start the campfire.

Kunkel said about 35 rescue personnel from Hamburg EMS and Kempton, Lynnport, New Tripoli and Germansville fire companies assisted with the rescue that took about one hour and 40 minutes.

First responders hiked through more than 18 inches of snow to reach the hiker on the Appalachian Trail off Hawk Mountain Road. A tourniquet was used to control the bleeding of the hiker’s left hand, which was partially severed. Rescuers carried the hiker one third of the way by Stokes basket, then a one third by inflatable pontoon boat with the Stokes basket on top and the rest of the way by ATV with tracks. He was then transported by ambulance to a helicopter and flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital Cedar Crest.


Kunkel said State Police are investigating.

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Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell is the editor of The Kutztown Patriot and Managing Editor of Berks-Mont Newspapers. Reach the author at or follow Lisa on Twitter: @kutztownpatriot.