84-Year-Old Hiker Survives 5 Days Lost in Mountains

Donald Combs found alive in Adirondacks

By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 18, 2014 5:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – It's one thing when a hiker goes missing for five days; it's another when that hiker is 84 years old. Yet search and rescue squads near Forestport in the Adirondacks in upstate New York were able to find Donald Combs alive—barely. The hiker, who'd set out a full week earlier and left a note at home that he'd be home in a day or two, according to cnycentral.com, was severely dehydrated, weak, and disoriented, and a police captain says Combs was unable to move once they did find him. He was taken to a Utica hospital via helicopter and was being evaluated.

"I didn't believe he would be alive," son Eric Combs tells WKTV. "I know he didn't have a lot of stuff with him. It's just amazing that he made it." When Combs is well enough to talk, police hope to piece together details of his hike and learn how he wandered off course. Some 500 troopers and forest rangers joined in the hunt, and, with the help of a state police K9, found Combs a half a mile outside of their search grid in rough terrain. Police had been about to reevaluate whether to scale back their search after five days without success. (See how this hiker survived several days with a broken leg.)

A forested area at Follensby Pond is seen in Tupper Lake, N.Y., Friday, Oct. 10, 2008.
A forested area at Follensby Pond is seen in Tupper Lake, N.Y., Friday, Oct. 10, 2008.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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