Former Boston Globe editor Donald MacGillis dies in Mount Katahdin hiking accident

Donald MacGillis, pictured in a 2007 file photo. Susan Chalifoux / The Boston Globe

Donald MacGillis, a former Boston Globe editorial writer and national politics editor, and an ardent lover of the outdoors, has died after a 50-foot fall while hiking Mount Katahdin in Maine.

MacGillis, 75, of Pittsfield, embarked on an expedition with his nephew Tuesday along the Dudley Trail around 11:30 a.m., but the pair got lost in the fog near Katahdin’s South Peak sometime after dark. A Baxter State Park ranger received a 911 call from MacGillis’ nephew shortly after midnight Wednesday and advised the duo to shelter in place until first light.

Roughly three hours later, MacGillis’ nephew rang again to report that his uncle had sustained injures after tumbling more than 50 feet. Stymied by fog Wednesday morning, a Blackhawk helicopter deployed from Bangor struggled for more than three hours to safely hoist MacGillis. He was taken to a nearby hospital around 10:30 a.m. in critical condition with a broken leg and hypothermia. His nephew was airlifted from the mountain an hour later. MacGillis’s son, Alec, also a longtime journalist, announced his father’s death on Twitter on Thursday morning, ushering in a flood of condolences and newsroom stories of MacGillis’ professionalism, humanity and humor.

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