Missing hiker, 58, from S'pore, found stuck in 'brutal' New York state swamp for 3 days

When he was found, his clothes were tattered, his boots were falling apart, and he had insect bites all over him.

Fiona Tan | July 05, 2022, 02:14 AM

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A 58-year-old hiker from Singapore went missing for three days in a mountain range in New York recently.

No contact for three days

Speaking to news outlet Adirondack Daily Enterprise, forest rangers from the New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said the hiker lived in Singapore, but was from Ireland originally.

Besides mentioning that he was a college professor who had left his job recently, the rangers declined to name the man and provide more details that can lead to his identification to protect his identity, Times Union reported.

The man's plan for a week

The man had planned to spend a week in the Adirondacks, which is in Essex County, New Jersey, a four-hour drive from New York.

Image from Visit Adirondacks website.

He had given his wife a rough itinerary and kept in constant contact with her through mobile messaging application WhatsApp and mobile fitness tracking application Strava.

However, contact dropped off a week into the man's expedition.

The couple's last form of communication was on the evening of Jun. 19, the day the man said he was going to hike the range of mountains in the Dix Range.

11-men search and rescue effort

His wife alerted American authorities on Jun. 22, after three days of not having contact.

Two DEC forest rangers began their search efforts at around 9am on the same day.

Nine more rangers joined in the search efforts on the ground, while officers from the New York State Police assisted in a helicopter from above, according to DCE's Jun. 28 press release.

Helicopter search. Image from DEC website.

Through interviews with other hikers, rangers deduced that the man had likely gone off trail.

Many of the hikers who chanced upon the man noted that he looked visibly "whooped", reported Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

"One of the most brutal swamps you could get stuck in"

Another forest ranger Jason Scott found the man roughly two miles (3.2km) from the trail in the south side of the Dix Pond swamp at about 2:50pm on Jun. 22.

Having been stranded in the swamp for the past three days, the man's clothes were "tattered", his boots were falling apart and he had battle scars from trashing through the trees.

Times Union reported that the exposed part of the man's skin was covered in bug bites from the black flies that had began to feast on him.

He also had hypothermia due to his prolonged exposure to the unforgiving wet and cold weather conditions.

Forest rangers who were familiar with the area described the swamp as “one of the most brutal swamps you could get stuck in" and added: “You wouldn’t want to be in there three minutes, never mind three days.”

Would not have made it through the night

Over the course of the three days, the man rationed his food and drank swamp water to survive.

However, this was still not enough as he started hallucinating.

He told rangers that he saw buildings, spoke to people and followed trail markers, all of which were non-existent and merely a figment of his imagination while he was wading in the swamp.

Adirondack Park. Image by Katy Littlefield/Unsplash.

According to Adirondack Daily Enterprise, rangers refer to this mental state as "bonk", where the person has been so deprived of food and water that his or her brain is unable to function properly.

While he managed to get brief sleep while in the swamp, he was beyond exhausted and he confessed that he would not have been able to “make it through the night” if the forest ranger did not find and rescue him.

Never again

The man was ready to drive off as soon as he changed out of his wet clothes, but he remained under the watchful eye of forest rangers who made sure to feed him and give him water so that he was in a fit condition to drive.

The rangers and paramedics released him after they gave him a clean bill of health, and they said the man was eager to check into a hotel and get home.

The man swore to never visit Dix Range again, according to a ranger who quoted him: "He told his wife that he was never going to hike that mountain range again."

Mothership has contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find out more about the incident.

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Top image for illustration purposes only from Wild Adirondacks website.