Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rescuers Dispute Rescue Bill

Rescue organizations have previously criticized various government initiatives to charge individual victims for search & rescue effort.  But this seems to be a first:  the individuals who rescued the victim are criticizing the State's bill to the victim (for the efforts of State employees).
Full article is here:
... with some excerpts below (emphasis added):

"She just had some bad luck," said Steve Larson, one three members of the North Conway-based Mountain Rescue Service who led Julie Horgan off Mount Jackson. She had spent the night in zero-degree temperatures enduring 50-mile-per-hour winds near the summit of the 4,052 foot mountain.
"It was pretty brutal. We were certainly anticipating some injuries," Alain Comeau, one of the three rescuers, said at the time. "It was a surprise to find her in good health. She was well equipped. She did everything right."
"This is all a desperate attempt to extract money from hikers and climbers," said Rick Wilcox, the president of Mountain Rescue Service. "We don't think think they're going in the right direction by billing the type of hiker this lady represents."
"They are continually lowering the bar," Steve Larson said. It used to be someone had to exhibit reckless behavior to get charged for their rescue. Horgan got lost on a day hike and survived an intolerable night.
"She was in a terrible place, and it was freezing cold," he said. "All she needed was to be shown the way."
Even Jeb Bradley, the avid hiker and Republican state senator who represents most of the Mount Washington Valley, has questions.
"Any hiker who needs to be rescued should be prepared to pay," he said, but the bill should be a standard fee around $800 or $1,000. "I'm not exactly sure why she's being charged the full boat here."

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