Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 36

Thread: Teen Fined for Rescue

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    85
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 5 Times in 2 Posts

    Default Teen Fined for Rescue

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_hiker_fined

    Teen fined $25,000 for cost of NH mountain rescue
    AP

    FILE - In this file photo taken April 28, 2009, Scott Mason grimaces as he gets AP ? FILE - In this file photo taken April 28, 2009, Scott Mason grimaces as he gets ready to go to the hospital ?
    By HOLLY RAMER, Associated Press Writer Holly Ramer, Associated Press Writer ? Fri Jul 17, 5:27 pm ET

    CONCORD, N.H. ? A Massachusetts teenager who spent three nights alone on Mount Washington in April after he sprained an ankle and veered off marked trails has been fined more than $25,000 for the cost of his rescue.

    Scott Mason had been praised for utilizing his Eagle Scout skills ? sleeping in the crevice of a boulder and jump-starting fires with hand sanitzer gel. But authorities say he wasn't prepared for the conditions he encountered and shouldn't have set out on such an ambitious hike.

    "Yes, he'd been out there in July when you could step across the brooks. And people have been out there in winter in hard-packed snow. But with these spring conditions, it was soft snow, it was deep snow," said Fish and Game Maj. Tim Acerno.

    Acerno said he believes Mason's fine is the largest ever sought under a 9-year-old New Hampshire law that allows lost hikers and climbers to be charged for rescue costs. Mason's rescue was particularly expensive because the helicopters the state typically used were unavailable, and a helicopter from Maine had to be brought in, Acerno said.

    Mason, 17, of Halifax, Mass., had planned to spend one day hiking 17 miles in the New Hampshire mountains but ended up lost after he hurt his ankle and decided to take a shortcut. The shortcut led him into rising water and deep snow caused by unseasonably warm weather.

    Mason was negligent in continuing up the mountain with an injury and veering off the marked path, Acerno said. Negligence, he said, is based on judging what a reasonable person would do in the same situation.

    "When I twist my ankle, I turn around and come down. He kept going up," Acerno said.

    "It was his negligence that led to him getting into that predicament," he said. "Once he was in that predicament, yes, that's what we praise him for ? he used his Boy Scout skills, and that's why he's still alive."

    Several states, including neighboring Maine and Vermont, have rescue repayment laws similiar to New Hampshire, though others tend to be more lenient. In Washington state, a bill that would have created a reimbursement system with fines capped at $500 never even made it out of committee this year. In New Hampshire, however, lawmakers made it even easier to charge for rescues last year when they changed the law to allow fines for those who acted negligently instead of the harder to prove standard of recklessness.

    New Hampshire officials have estimated that they could seek reimbursement in about 40 of the 140 or so rescues it typically handles each year. The money goes to the Fish and Game department's rescue fund. In most cases, hikers pay a few hundred dollars.

    For the fiscal year that ended June 30, there were 131 missions that cost $175,320, Acerno said. He did not know how many of them resulted in fines.

    Mason's family said they would not comment on the bill, which was mailed July 10. Mason has until August 9 to pay the bill; he could also take the state to court to contest the fine.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    1,994
    Thanks
    60
    Thanked 243 Times in 126 Posts

    Default

    OK, I've said before that some of the unprepared fools (trying not to use a stronger expletive here) deserve to be fined after putting SAR and others in jeopardy and causing costly rescues. Somehow this doesn't seem like the right case though. Maybe we're not seeing the whole story somehow but this kid seems like he was quite prepared and just was the victim of unfortunate circumstances.
    Mark

    Keep close to Nature's heart...
    and break clear away, once in awhile,
    and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.
    Wash your spirit clean. - John Muir


    Hiking photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42
    Hiking Blog: http://theramblingsblog.blogspot.com/
    Seek the 2011 Peak page: Mark Truman's Pledge Page

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Mount Washington, NH/Kearsarge, NH/State College, PA
    Posts
    104
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Before I offer my two cents, I feel like I need to make sure everyone knows I am stating my personal opinion and not that of the Observatory's in any way.

    With that said, I think that it is very appropriate of the state to charge for this young man's rescue. I was on the mountain during the search and witnessed fairly closely all the man power that went into it. I definitely agree that he was not prepared....for the hike that he set out on that is. He may have been prepared for a shorter day hike during the summer months, but he was not properly equipped for an ambitious 17 mile hike during a time of year that can see full winter conditions in these mountains. In my opinion ti doesn't matter that the weather at that time was more typical of June than April...you have to be prepared for anything in these mountains, as a lot of people on this forum already know. I also think that he made some other poor decisions along the way.

    I just wish they would use this law more often, especially for the people that are even more obviously negligent than this young man.

    So that' my opinion....I'll be interested to hear what others think. I was surprised to see that he (and/or his family) only has until August 9 to pay the bill. That's not much time to pay a sum of money that most people just don't have laying around.
    Brian Clark

    MWO Observer and Meteorologist

    http://mountwashington.accuweather.com<---- My blog on AccuWeather.com

    We are....PENN STATE!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Charleston, IL
    Posts
    356
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 18 Times in 10 Posts

    Default

    I'm of two minds about this. As a former Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, I never felt anyone owed a lifeguard anything but thanks for rescuing them. But when I see people who refuse to evacuate before a hurricane or flood and then require serious rescue, I tend to lean towards charging them for the service if for no other reason than to discourage future poor judgments.

    Still, a $25,000 fine seems a tad excessive. I have no knowledge of this teen's family's financial status, but a $25k fine can be devastating. Charging people for negligence is one thing. Charging them for stupidity is another. It's a fine line, indeed, though.
    Mark
    *************
    Randomography
    MJ Pics

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Ocean County, NJ
    Posts
    426
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 62 Times in 29 Posts

    Default

    I agree that a fine is due, and though $25,000 sounds high, I know that it costs several thousand dollars per hour to operate a rescue-type helicopter - i.e. Blackhawk, etc - so it is relatively easy to see how they arrived at that number. Interestingly, the Coast Guard performs similar rescues over water routinely, and does not charge, even in cases of stupidity/negligence. To my knowledge, they only charge/fine in the case of hoax distress calls - in these situations, I have read of fines/costs in the $250,000+ range, and criminal charges.

    As Brian alluded to, it seems like this hiker made some bad decisions, and if he had turned back sooner, the whole rescue effort probably could have been avoided.

    Ed

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,145
    Thanks
    541
    Thanked 121 Times in 73 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by M_Six View Post
    I'm of two minds about this. As a former Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, I never felt anyone owed a lifeguard anything but thanks for rescuing them. But when I see people who refuse to evacuate before a hurricane or flood and then require serious rescue, I tend to lean towards charging them for the service if for no other reason than to discourage future poor judgments.

    Still, a $25,000 fine seems a tad excessive. I have no knowledge of this teen's family's financial status, but a $25k fine can be devastating. Charging people for negligence is one thing. Charging them for stupidity is another. It's a fine line, indeed, though.
    i agree with you .i am with a search & rescue team and we have no money coming in ,we support our self's . but there are times when you get that call out for some one that makes you shake your head [ why are we here ] one was with 2 kids boyfriend and girlfriend did not come back from a walk near there house . 1 state helicopter,search team ,ems,police , dog teams and fire dept looking for 8 hr and they came walking out and said Whats going on
    we thought they were on the move because our dogs were on the move going round and round
    the parents were mad ,they made them go on the news to apologize and we got a $25 donation

    they should have had to do some community time for all the man hours they took up
    i am a Summit Club member
    http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/new pictures and videos

    If your not a OBS member yet then what are you waiting for

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Thomson, GA
    Posts
    2
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    As a dad who's lost a child in an accident, $25,000 is a small price to pay to be able to wrap your arms around your son or daughter again. We're not talking about winning or losing some sporting event here. Obviously this kid was in way over his head. They wouldn't have to wait until August 1 for me to get the $$$ to them. I'd figure it out somehow.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    White Mountains, NH
    Posts
    736
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 25 Times in 16 Posts

    Default

    Perhaps the parents can hire a lawyer to dispute this extremely excessive and, IMHO, unnecessary (in this case) fine.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Epping, NH
    Posts
    657
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked 58 Times in 25 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TrishandAlex View Post
    Perhaps the parents can hire a lawyer to dispute this extremely excessive and, IMHO, unnecessary (in this case) fine.
    I think it bears mentioning first that this is a recovery of costs and not a fine. While some may say that it is just semantics, I think the distinction is important. And I can certainly see the F&G's side, in that they are largely on their own without tax support, and this event was a huge hit for them. But (granted I don't know all the facts) I don't see how this was reckless...

    One of the big phrases that circulated with this reckless hiker statute is that the hiker's actions must be against what a reasonable person would do in the same situation. I really hope that the state puts out a report on what was deemed reckless in this case. From what I recollect, he had crampons, proper gear, and survived additional nights on his own. Sounds like he was prepared.

    The morning the boy got lost, I was on the Boott Spur trail at 2AM to catch a sunrise. Is this what a reasonable person would do? Probably not. Was I being reckless? I don't believe so, I felt comfortable, had proper gear, had hiked the trail a few times before, and had done many prior night hikes. But what I consider within my comforts may seem unreasonable to others. If I was injured, would I have been "fined"?

    I think that this idea/law needs better definition, because it sounds like many of us who enjoy these mountains might want to consider an insurance policy...

    Lastly, and a complete aside from my main point, I think making an eagle scout from a neighboring state the poster child for 'recklessness' is a bad PR move for a state that relies on tourism dollars built upon the outdoor lifestyle.
    Last edited by JimS; 07-18-2009 at 02:06 PM.
    "I've learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but that all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it."
    ~Andy Rooney

    Follow my photography on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-Sa...y/156147782386

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    6,247
    Thanks
    112
    Thanked 398 Times in 250 Posts

    Default

    Jim,

    I am with you on this one. Since hearing about the charging to recover costs in this case I have been struggling with why it makes sense. True, it sounds like he continued into potential danger by going up even after he was hurt. But, did he know how badly he was hurt at the time? He sure seemed to get around for being "hurt". He really did very well in this situation.

    There are folks who are clearly reckless in their actions, even to us folks. But, we are normally prepared with proper equipment and have folks knowing where we are going and what we are doing - just like this kid. He had to bail from the ridge and did not know about the high water stream crossings in that area. I would not either even though I have spent years on these mountains and on the trails. He worked hard to survive and get out and seemed to be prepared. But, we do not know the whole story.

    Better definition of reckless would sure help us all. I know that I do things most folks think is beyond them - maybe even reckless - but it is a matter of judgement and experience. And knowing when to bail.

    Many years ago I was involved with an accident on Lion Head where we had to call in for help. After a boulder rolled down the trail pinning one camper - 2 others were in the stone rubble above the boulder, we moved everyone up the trail above the accident except for the pinned boy. One counselor stayed with the group and I took a strong camper and we ran down Lion Head trail and up to HoJo's to notify the caretaker. He radioed for help - then the 3 of us ran back up the trail with auto jacks and long pry bars. (7 mins down and 15 mins up) When we got to the site the boy was out from under the rock but his elbow was badly messed up. The other counselor had been able to pick out dirt between the elbow and the rock allowing him to pull the arm out.

    There was not much expense - multiple people running up from PNVC with a stretcher - back down - Dr driving up the Auto Road - carrying him up and over to the road and out for medical help. But, if there was a lot of expense, would there have been a charge? In this case, trail clearing crew had cut a root that was holding the boulder in place. When pressed on by the first person in our group the boulder started to roll down the trail like it was a bowling alley gutter. Were we reckless by being out there?

    Yes, there was probably a lot of cost involved with this rescue. But, I am having a tough time seeing the reckless part based on what I know of the story.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
    http://bradstreet.zenfolio.com Personal Photo sales site
    http://public.fotki.com/bradbradstreet Personal photo web site
    http://public.fotki.com/MWO/saved/2012/ MWO image & video archive site 2006-2012

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •