On Aug. 6 at 8:20 p.m., the Rock Hill Fire Department requested DEC assistance to search for two hikers in the Neversink Unique Area. Forest Ranger Franke responded, arriving on scene at 9 p.m.
WOODRIDGE, NY — On August 6 at 8:20 p.m., the Rock Hill Fire Department requested DEC assistance to search for two hikers in the Neversink Unique Area. Forest ranger Richard Franke responded, arriving on scene at 9 p.m.
A group of approximately 100 individuals staying at Camp Morris in Woodridge hiked into the area and at approximately 4:45 p.m., two of the individuals went swimming at Denton Falls. One of the members of the group watched as the current swept the swimmers downriver and he returned to the camp without reporting the incident.
At 8:05 p.m., the two hikers were reported missing. Rock Hill Fire Department searched along the trails and located two sets of clothing along the riverbank near the falls. New York State Police Aviation flew over the river with negative results. State police also searched the ground and the Town of Fallsburg Police K-9 tracked the clothing to the water.
Franke dispatched four search crews to search the riverbanks and the blue trail that runs parallel to the river. At the same time, New York State Police monitored the Neversink River from the Oakland Valley Bridge and the Forestburgh Fire Department monitored the river from Eden Road.
At approximately 12:15 a.m., Forest ranger Robert Stratton located the two hikers on an island in the middle of the river, south of Denton Falls. Rock Hill Fire Department swiftwater gear (personal floatation devices, throw bags, rope, and shoes) was dispatched to the Rangers to use in the rescue. Forest rangers Stratton, Griggsby Cowart, and John Rusher and two Rock Hill Fire Department members performed a wedge formation, a swiftwater technique, to cross the Neverink River and rescue the stranded hikers. The hikers had no injuries and hiked out to a waiting UTV. The subjects were evaluated by Hatzalah EMS and transported to the trailhead at 3:45 a.m.