State police locate Mass. man lost in forest as bitter cold closed in

An aerial crew located the older adult in Granville State Forest Thursday as night fell and temps began to plummet.

A Massachusetts State Police flight crew located an elderly man who was lost in the Granville State Forest Thursday night before arctic temperatures and wind chills struck the region.

State police shared an infrared video on Facebook showing a flight crew honing in on the lone man as he wandered the forest. The rescue happened around 6:30 p.m. in a heavily wooded area near West Hartland Road in Granville. Police said the temperature at the time of the search was 26 degrees Fahrenheit and dropping, and night had fallen.

The man, who police did not identify but said was in his 70s, had gone walking in the state forest earlier that afternoon and did not return home as expected.  


“The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing is a tremendously valuable asset, something that is proven time and again in situations where a lost person’s life may hang in the balance,” state police wrote in a Facebook post detailing the incident.

State police said an Air Wing helicopter crewed by Sgt. Kristopher Malm and Troopers Kenneth Dinjian and Brendan Crowther conducted an aerial search of the forest using the aircraft’s Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera. 

The lost man had his cellphone with him and had intermittent service, and told police dispatchers he could see the helicopter. Trooper Dinjian told dispatchers to tell the man to turn on his phone’s flashlight and point it toward the aircraft, which helped the flight crew quickly locate him using their FLIR and an infrared laser.

The flight crew then directed Granville first responders to the missing man, who safely brought him out of the woods. 

“Without the efforts of the State Police Air Wing and the various MSP and Granville fire ground units, the lost man may have suffered severe, or even fatal, consequences from the cold,” state police said in their post. “We are extremely grateful that we and our partners at Granville fire had the opportunity, training, and equipment necessary to make sure this incident had a good ending.”


Granville firefighters and members of the State Police K9 Unit, Special Emergency Response Team, and Air Wing all participated in the search effort.


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