DRYDEN — Two missing cross-country skiers were found early Sunday, experiencing mild hypothermia but otherwise unharmed, ending a long search in the Hammond Hill area of Dryden involving emergency services teams from four counties, according to a fire official.
At 6:42 p.m., Dryden firefighters were called to help state police find two women cross-country skiers, one 43 and the other 56, reported lost in the Hammond Hill State Forest area after they became separated from a third companion skier, a 46-year-old woman, according to fire officials and state police.
State police reported the skiers initially went missing around 3 p.m. Sunday.
Dryden Fire and Rescue responded with a tracked vehicle, an ATV and two snowmobiles, said Dryden Deputy Fire Chief Mark Bell. A field command post was set up at the recreation area parking lot with a main command center and staging area at the Dryden fire station.
Searches were conducted of ski trails and seasonal roads in the state forest and surrounding areas.
The search drew a response from a number of emergency services, including the Cortland, Tompkins and Tioga search teams; the Cortlandville, Dryden, Enfield, Freeville, Groton, McLean, Moravia and Trumansburg fire departments; Dryden Ambulance; state police; state Department of Environmental Conservation; State Parks Police; Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response; Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office. The agencies provided tracked vehicles, snowmobiles, ATVs or manpower.
The skiers were located about 12:18 a.m. Sunday south of the state forest by a volunteer firefighter familiar with the area, according to Bell. They were escorted to the nearest road, evaluated and transported by Dryden Ambulance to the command center.
The skiers, who Bell said did not plan to be out long, did not have much gear with them. “They had no cell phones,” Bell said this morning. “Not much of anything.”
They were wet, tired and mildly hypothermic but refused further medical treatment, according to Bell.
Bell said the two were found around a mile from where they started skiing, but estimates they traveled farther trying to find their way back.
No other injuries were reported. Authorities did not release the names of the rescued skiers.
Emergency crews searched for the two missing women in cold, rainy weather. It was also extremely dark, Bell said. “You couldn’t see the person 2 feet away.”