Amid deep snow that buried central and Western Massachusetts on Tuesday, state and local emergency crews rushed to rescue two boys who got stuck on the backside of Wachusett Mountain and two hikers stranded in Mount Washington State Forest, officials said.
On Wachusset Mountain, two boys got lost after they skied into a remote area while exploring outside the trail boundaries, according to a Facebook post from Princeton Fire Department.
They were about two miles off course, and their phones only had nine percent battery left, police said. Rescuers located the boy’s cellphone signals and determine their GPS coordinates, officials said.
First responders “battled the elements, darkness and dangerous snow pack,” to reach the boys, the post said. Princeton had gotten over 29 inches of snow from the nor’easter, the National Weather Service reported.
“This could have ended tragically but these boys are very lucky and used their heads and shared body heat to survive,” the post read.
In Mount Washington State Forest, officials received a 911 call at 7:48 p.m. from two hikers that were stranded on the Alander Trail. Due to the heavy snow falling and darkness, the men could not see the trail or retrace their steps, State Police said in a statement.
Dispatchers told the hikers to stay at their location. State Police assembled a six person rescue team. First responders had to spend several hours clearing fallen power lines and trees for snowmobiles reach to the trailhead, the statement said.
Due to the two feet of snow, the snowmobiles were unable to drive onto the trail. The rescue team instead took off on foot at 12:09 a.m. Wednesday, officials said.
The hikers, aged 47 and 53, were located at 2:30 a.m. and reached the Department of Conservation and Recreation headquarters with the rescue team at 4:38 a.m.
“The two men were suffering from fatigue and cold temperatures but were not injured,” State Police said in the statement.
The hikers were taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation due cold weather exposure, officials said.
Kate Armanini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow her on Twitter @KateArmanini .