WNYT.com

Rescued hiker may face criminal charges

Posted at: 10/10/2012 5:36 PM
Updated at: 10/10/2012 6:24 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

COPAKE - For over a day and a half, multiple rescue agencies launched an all-out ground and air search to locate Kyle Pember, a hiker believed missing in the Bash Bish Falls region.

But following his early morning rescue Wednesday, Columbia County Sheriff's Deputies said it appears Pember intentionally stayed in the woods.

Pember was reported last seen Monday afternoon by his father, who said the two had become separated during a hike.

The initial searches by state police, forest rangers, and fire crews over the rough, sometimes cliff-like, mountainous terrain, failed to find him.

Then Deputies said around 11:45pm Tuesday, Pember used a cell phone to call his father, saying he was cold, scared, possibly hurt and "wanted to come out."

Using GPS coordinates from that call, crews drove in and scrambled their way up the New York side of Mount Washington, locating Pember around 4:17 Wednesday morning.

"He was kind of lethargic and hypothermic. The forest ranger found him and once we got him up and walking around, we got a little blood flow to his legs which helped. He was able to walk himself out with the police and the rangers," said Sgt. Darren Forbes, New York State Police.

Pember, who is from Northborough, Massachusetts, was transported to Columbia Memorial hospital for treatment.

Two fire fighters also suffered non life threatening injuries during the search.

Sheriffs deputies said besides potential criminal charges, there may be legal action to make Pember reimburse emergency agencies for fuel, equipment and overtime costs in what they're calling a "tremendous undertaking" to locate him.