An elderly hiker may have to foot the bill for an enormous search operation that was launched after his wife mistakenly reported him missing. The man in question had texted his wife to let her know that he was checking into a hotel, but failed to notice that the text did not send.
While Chamley successfully climbed both mountains, he decided that he had finished too late to return home, and opted to check into the Omni Mount Washington Resort hotel instead. Chamley texted his wife at 1 AM to alert her of the change in plan, but fell asleep without realizing that it had failed to send.
Back in Massachusetts, Chamley’s wife was still expecting him to come home, and was growing increasingly worried as it moved into the early hours of the morning without any communication from Christophe. At 3:48 AM, she placed a call to 911 and reported him missing.
Due to Chamley’s age and an underlying medical condition, an urgent search operation was launched immediately. The search team consisted of 25 search & rescue officers, a snowcat, and a helicopter. The crew scoured the mountain for several hours, before hotel staff informed them of Mr. Chamley’s whereabouts.
Colonel Kevin Jordan of the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department, which is responsible for all woodland rescue operations in New Hampshire, told reporters that he was unsure if they would bill Chamley for the search, but added that he was “more inclined” to think that they would. In New Hampshire, a person may be billed for their rescue operation if they were reckless or negligent in their actions. Since the operation was launched as a result of Chamley not ensuring that his wife knew where he was, he could be held responsible.
No official figure for the bill has been released yet, but a helicopter alone can cost around $1,600 an hour, meaning the total it is likely to run into the thousands of dollars.