Hiker Must Foot the Bill for Cost of His NH Rescue

     (CN) – A man who went hiking in bad weather with an artificial hip must pay the state for the cost of his rescue, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled.
     When Edward Bacon set off on a five-day solo hiking trip across the White Mountains in fall 2012, the 59-year-old Bacon had back problems and had undergone five hip surgeries in seven years.
     His artificial hip had been dislocated five times, including twice in the year before the hike, and Bacon was on medication for his various ailments.
     The forecast called for heavy rain and winds of 30-40 mph, gusting up to 70 mph. It had started to rain a few hours after Bacon hit the trail.
     Bacon slipped and fell later that morning. He slid down a trail, and his tent fell into a ravine. Two hours later, Bacon dislocated his hip.
     Fifteen employees of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, assisted by 35 volunteers, eventually rescued Bacon from a trail between two mountains.
     The department later took Bacon to court for negligence, and a judge in Concord awarded it $9,334 after a bench trial to reimburse the costs of Bacon’s rescue.
     Judge Gerard Boyle said Bacon’s actions were “a gross deviation from those of a reasonable person that surpasses the (negligence) standard required.”
     The New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld that verdict on April 30, scoffing at Bacon’s attempts to prepare for the hike in a Michigan city park that had 250-food hills and some gravelly spots.
     Bacon “trained in a city park that did not remotely resemble the challenging terrain he would experience in the White Mountains,” Judge Robert Lynn wrote for the five-person court.
     The court refused to ignore that Bacon continued the hike despite encountering heavy wind and rain early in his outing, and that he caused his own injury.
     “He chose to jump backward over a rock ledge he was unable to pass, despite his artificial hip and experience with hip dislocation,” Lynn wrote.

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