National Guard Rescues New Hampshire Hiker Who Fell After Watching a 9/11 Memorial on a Mountain Peak

by Leanne Stahulak

On Saturday, the National Guard rescued a hiker heading up a New Hampshire mountain, who suffered a serious head injury on her way back down.

According to CBS Boston, Linda Laganos, 66, traveled from Massachusetts to New Hampshire to watch a flag being placed on the summit of Mt. Jefferson in honor of 9/11. She hiked the mountain, heading up Caps Ridge Trail, and witnessed the ceremony in person. But on her way back down, she fell and hit her head.

Because of the potentially serious nature of her head injury, someone called in the National Guard for a helicopter rescue. At the time, members of the New Hampshire Army National Guard were completing search and rescue training on Mount Cannon, 25 miles away. They’d flown in on a Blackhawk helicopter, using it for the training, when the call for assistance came.

The National Guards members immediately cut training short and flew to Laganos on Mt. Jefferson. They lowered a crew member down to the fallen hiker and helped her into the helicopter. Eventually, the crew took her to a local airport, where she was then transported to a local hospital. At this time, there are no updates or information on Laganos’ condition.

National Guard Completes ‘Challenging Rescue’ of South Carolina Hikers

Last month, members of the South Carolina Army National Guard worked with the South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (SC-HART) on a difficult rescue.

The teams rescued one injured hiker and two others trapped near Raven Cliff Falls in Caesar’s Head State Park, according to the National Guard website. Cedar Mountain Fire Rescue originally received the call for help, but they quickly passed it on to the two teams. At the time of the call on Aug. 19, the conditions made it impossible to conduct the rescue right away.

“We got the call around 9 p.m. the previous night requesting our assistance,” said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Frank Wallace. He works as a pilot for SC-HART. “We determined that, due to our crew, the terrain, and the weather, we would not be able to conduct the rescue at that time. But the next morning, we took off at sunrise and met up with the other members of the team in Greenville.”

However, they quickly realized just how difficult of a rescue this would be, due to the conditions.

“The winds were coming off the mountain tops, creating turbulence. And there was also some morning fog to deal with,” said Wallace. “The terrain had a lot of trees covering the slope, and there was what looked like a sheer drop-off near the rescue site. We surveyed the area from the air and came up with a plan to put the (medics) on the ground safely.”

It took 45 minutes for SC-HART to rescue the hikers. The rescue team removed the hikers from a “heavily wooded, off-trail location near the falls.”

“This rescue was in really difficult terrain also,” said Wallace. “It was up in the same general area and had triple vegetation. It would have been difficult to find them if the grid coordinates they gave us weren’t so accurate.”