We've reported before on New Hampshire's policy of charging for search-rescue-operations born out of negligence, and survival expert Steve Howe at The Pulse covered the story of injured Eagle Scout Scott Mason's rescue from Mount Washington in difficult spring-snow conditions.
Now, those two stories are converging: Mason has one month to pay the full cost of his $25,000 rescue, after being deemed 'negligent.' Despite surviving for three days in tough conditions with a busted ankle, The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department ruled that ultimately, he ventured into the wild unprepared for his ambitious itinerary. 25 people and a helicopter searched for two full days before Mason was found.
Maj. Tim Acerno, who oversees law enforcement for Fish and Game in the Granite State and headed Mason’s rescue in April, said Mason “was negligent” in attempting to hike an “aggressive” trail in wintry conditions, and then taking a “difficult route even after spraining his ankle.”
Local reaction ranges from justification to outrage, given that the scout used hand sanitizer to build a fire, found his own shelter, and survived for three days in the wilderness. Howe praised Mason for his resourcefulness in nearly rescuing himself, but cautioned that while "knowing wilderness and survival skills is important, (...) knowing how to recognize and avoid problems in the first place is much more important." Mason took a crampon and ice axe with him but had never used them before, and he underestimated conditions.
Back in the day, Steve Howe dropped advice on rescue insurance, which can defray the cost of rescue. But what do you think? Should Mason be liable for his own rescue?
via The Goat