WOODFORD, Vt. — A thru-hiker was airlifted to Albany Medical Center on Monday after injuring her leg on the Appalachian Trail in Woodford.
Bennington Rescue Squad Executive Director Forest Weyen described the injuries of Kristen Breen, 46, as serious, but non-life-threatening. Breen was hiking the Appalachian Trail with her husband, Robert, Monday morning when she reportedly tripped on a root and severely injured her leg. Robert called 911, and the call came in at about 10 a.m. BRS were the first to respond. They were able to locate Breen relatively quickly with the help of locals Jeremiah Hurley and Shawn Hollis, who were familiar with the area's trail system and offered to assist with the rescue. That team included a paramedic, who was able to assess her injuries. BRS worked with the Vermont State Police and the Bennington Rural Fire Department to get Breen off the trail, and transport her via stretcher to a location where she could be safely airlifted out.
The Breens, of Florida, had started hiking the trail in Georgia, and had planned to travel to the northern terminus, Mount Katahdin, in Maine.
At the scene, Vermont State Police Lt. Thomas McCoy described her injury as a fractured femur, although Weyen later declined to confirm the specific nature of the injury, citing privacy concerns.
The organizations involved set up a staging area on National Forest Service Trail 273, a dirt road near City Stream Road, off of Route 9 in Woodford. The team from BRS, along with Hurley and Hollis, transported Breen to that location, where she was removed from the scene via helicopter just prior to 2 p.m.
State Trooper Benjamin Barton said that Hurley and Hollis greatly helped to expedite the process. "Having local knowledge makes things go smoothly," he said.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.