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State Police use helicopter to rescue lost hiker

Massachusetts State Police rescued a hiker who was lost in the woods in the Western Massachusetts town of Southampton on Monday using an Air Wing helicopter, police said.

State Police had been using the Air Wing to help Northampton police find an alleged car thief. Shortly after they finished that search, they got a call for help from Southampton police, who needed assistance finding a “lost hiker in distress” in the Southampton Wildlife Management Area, State Police said in a statement Tuesday.

The male hiker had called 911, but his phone battery died, complicating the rescue operation. Southampton police dispatchers were able to provide the Air Wing flight crew with the hiker’s approximate location by analyzing the last position of the phone before it died, police said.


The hiker was found off Mountain Road around 4:52 p.m. A video taken from the Air Wing released by State Police shows the hiker in a relatively clear area of the woods, surrounded by tall grass.

“The flight crew notified Southampton Police that it had located the lost hiker and that due to his location, they would land and secure him aboard the aircraft,” State Police said.

The pilot and the tactical flight officer aboard the Air Wing landed the helicopter in a field close to the hiker. Trooper Eric Fairchild, the tactical flight officer, got out of the helicopter, found the hiker, and got him into the helicopter. An ambulance was waiting for the helicopter near Strong Road and Brickyard Road, police said.

“The hiker appeared to [be] suffering the effects of heat exhaustion but was ambulatory,” police said.

Andres Picon can be reached at andres.picon@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @andpicon.