Rescuers find missing teenage hiker safe and well

By Calvin Palmer

A Massachusetts teenager missing for three nights in the mountains of New Hampshire has been found safe and well.

Scott Mason, 17, of Halifax, was found by a rescue team a half mile from Mount Clay this morning, said Maj Tim Acerno of the Fish and Game Department.

Mason set out Saturday morning on a 17-mile hike along the Applachian Trail, over the summits of Mount Washington and Mount Madison.

He was reported missing on Sunday morning, prompting a search by six rescue teams.

The searchers had been following intermittent tracks consistent with someone disoriented or lost, Acerno said. They also had difficulty moving in the waist-deep, soft snow.

After learning of the rescue, Scott’s father, Mike Mason, said he believed his son did not panic.

“I hung in there because I had a sense he would hunker down and he was gonna pass this test,” Mason said. “This is his basketball, football, this is what he loves.”

Mason, a Boy Scout since age 11, has spent many weekends hiking in the White Mountains and became an Eagle Scout in October, said Tom Goldrick, his scoutmaster in Halifax.

“He’s the most experienced hiker in our scout troop,” Goldrick said. “We all had a very positive outlook.”

He said Mason has the top leadership position in the troop and has taught hiking and camping skills.

The nearly 6,300-foot Mount Washington is notorious for its fast-changing and often treacherous weather.

Searchers initially worried about hypothermia and the risk of an avalanche. But warm weather led them to become more concerned that Mason would be swept away trying to cross a stream swollen by snowmelt.

[Based on reports by The Boston Globe and Associated Press.]

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