Park Rangers at Baxter State Park in Maine went on full alert when a hiker was declared missing. John Lyon of Virginia, an experienced 78-year old hiker, did not return from a hike on Mount Coe. Lyon was hiking with three other people from the DC/Virginia area when he left the group to hike ahead.
Forest Service aircraft and personnel from the Department of Inland Fisheries assisted park rangers in their search. When Lyon remained missing after two days, the park expanded the search with help of game wardens, Maine Forest Service personnel, and volunteers from the Maine Association of Search and Rescue. Park officials also closed the key trails where they thought that Lyon would be found.
On the third day of his disappearance, a Maine Forest Service helicopter crew spotted Lyon on a rock slide. His white hat made it easier for rescuers to spot him. The crew was able to hike to Lyon and then flew him off to Millinocket Municipal Airport. From there, an ambulance took him to Millinocket Regional Hospital for observation.
Baxter State Park’s director Jensen Bissell told the Portland Press Herald that Lyon was doing great for spending three days thrashing around in the woods. Ironically, Lyon was only about two miles from the trail loop where he went missing. Bissell suspects that Lyon would probably have been able to find the trail himself if he had not been rescued.
Lyon was in good shape except for scratches. He had three granola bars, which he parceled out over the days he was missing. Fortunately, there was plenty of water to drink.
Bissell said that the systematic, coordinated search efforts by the professionals and volunteers helped bring about a happy ending.