LOWELL -- A UMass Lowell student on a group outing in New Hampshire to learn winter hiking skills was airlifted to an area hospital with a serious head injury Saturday after authorities said he slipped on an icy trail and tumbled 200 feet down Mount Major.
According to Maj. James Juneau of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, the terrain was so steep and footing so precarious that it took conservation officers and other first-responders "several hours to bushwhack their way off of the mountain." The victim was identified as Matthew McGaunn, of Topsfield.
McGaunn was with the University of Massachusetts Lowell Outdoor Adventure Program in the Belknap Range near Lake Winnipesaukee at the time, but it was unclear if he was a student or a guest. The online course description cautioned trails "may include heavy snow, ice, and steep hills."
Juneau said McGaunn was injured while hiking the Blue Trail below Mount Major's summit.
Rescuers delivered McGaunn to the mountain's trailhead shortly before 5 p.m., where he was met by a medical helicopter and airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.
His condition was unavailable Sunday.
Requests for comment from the hospital, UMass Lowell, the Outdoor Adventure Program and McGaunn's family were not immediately returned.
While trying to reach McGaunn, Juneau said conservation officers came upon a second injured hiker from Massachusetts identified as Emily Field, 26, of Medford.
Field sustained a minor injury when she, too, slipped and fell on an icy trail, Juneau said. Field was taken down the mountain on a four-wheeler, but opted to seek medical treatment on her own, he said.