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Mass. man dies while hiking in N.H.

A search party had to end efforts Sunday night due to "blizzard" conditions along the trail.

A 66-year-old Plymouth, Massachusetts, man died while hiking on Mount Moosilauke in Benton, New Hampshire, in what authorities say were “blizzard conditions.”

New Hampshire Fish and Game Department officials say that Roy Sanford’s family called state police around 7 p.m. Sunday when he didn’t return home for dinner from what was supposed to be a day-long hike.

After Sanford’s car was located at the trailhead, state conservation officers began “a hasty search” up Glencliff Trail, the route Sanford had planned to take up the mountain, but were met with inclement weather late Sunday, according to a press release.

“The Officers experienced blizzard conditions with snow, heavy wind gusts and below freezing temperatures right from the trailhead,” the release said. “The officers were able to reach the south peak of Moosilauke before needing to turn around due to high winds, lack of visibility and their own safety.  Nearby trailheads were checked throughout the night and morning to ensure that Mr. Sanford hadn’t ended up on another trail due to the fierce wind.”

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On Monday, the search began again with the help of conservation officers and volunteers from the Mountain Rescue Service and Pemi Valley Search and Rescue. The state’s National Guard also sent out a Blackhawk helicopter to help with the search.

Around 3 p.m., conservation officers saw footprints in the snow from the summit down Gorge Brook. Around 3:40 p.m., one of the search teams found Sanford’s body. He was taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and pronounced dead.

“It appears that weather conditions played a major contributing factor in this hiking incident,” authorities said.   

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