New Hampshire officials are considering billing an 80-year-old's family for the cost of his hour-long rescue mission, saying he was unprepared to walk in dangerous weather.
They also weigh criminal charges against two family members who had left the man to walk alone.
James Clark was found Thursday night on Mount Washington, New Hampshire in a fetal position, showing signs of hypothermia "to the point of not being able to speak any clear or visible words," the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said in a press release.
Clark, Dublin, Ohio, tried to climb the Lion Head Trail in Sargent's purchase with two family members as they left him behind, officials said. The family members climbed the top of Mount Washington without Clark and later descended using another track.
They became worried and called rescue personnel around. 1
The temperatures at the summit were freezing with a 12-degree Fahrenheit windshield, officials said. Rain and dense fog led to icy conditions.
New Hampshire Fish and Game Lt. Mark Ober said Tuesday that Clark was not prepared to go hiking in these weather conditions and not wearing proper clothes. Ober told The Associated Press that his agency can recommend to the law firm's office that Clark's family pays the cost of the rescue mission.
The mission is not yet determined.
Fish and Games Major Dave Walsh told New Hampshire Union Leader that criminal charges are also possible because Clark was left to walk alone and his family members did not go back to control him.
"It may be something we look at when we ask the lawyer about the negligent hikes," he said. "They should have been better prepared for equipment and clothing and should never have left him alone. I don't know his physical form, but he is 80 years old."
Clark was found late Thursday night at Lion Head Trail. He had to turn into dry clothes and put in a sleeping bag for heat, Fish and Game Agency said.
"Three rescuers continued to keep Clark warm and alive as volunteer rescuers were called to help the lifesaving event," the agency highlighted in its press release.
Another rescue team reached klark at. 1:15 Friday and brought him nearly two miles to a road from which he was taken by ambulance to a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
Fisheries and game conservation officers, Appalachian Mountain Club and Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue Team all helped rescue.
Clark told the EU leader that the family members he was with were his grandchildren aged 19 and 14, and they had planned for the two teenagers to walk at their own pace and allow Clark to catch up later. He said they had done it before while walking in New York and Vermont.
"If anyone is guilty, it's definitely me and not the boys," Clark said. "I am the one who insisted that they move on. So any negligence was on my part."
Associated Press contributed.