FREDON TOWNSHIP, N.J. – A New Jersey State Trooper from South Orange was part of a team who rescued a hiker and his dog after they became lost on a trail in a wooded area off of Yellow Frame Road in Fredon Township, Sussex County.
On Monday, October 7, at 7:44 p.m., troopers from Sussex Station were dispatched to the area after the victim called 9-1-1 to report that he had gotten lost while hiking on the “Yellow Trail” and became trapped on a steep incline at the bottom of a cliff where he was holding onto a tree to keep from falling.
When Trooper Sean Sullivan and Trooper Russell Cahn, a South Orange resident, arrived, it was dark and raining as they attempted to locate the trail, which was not clearly marked. Once they were able to locate the entrance, the troopers marked the area with road flares so that additional response units would be able to quickly locate the trail. The troopers were able to drive their troop car approximately a half mile into the trail before they had to continue the search on foot.
Equipping themselves with a medical trauma bag and a rescue rope, Troopers Sullivan and Cahn walked for a mile, blowing their whistles and calling out to the victim, before they were able to locate the man and his dog. The victims were uninjured, but the temperature was 55 degrees, and they had been out in the rain for an extended period.
After providing their location to responding personnel, the two troopers attempted to find a safe path to the bottom of the ravine due to their concerns that the victims were vulnerable to hypothermia, but they were unsuccessful. Shortly after, members of the Green Township and Stillwater Township Fire Departments arrived at the scene with equipment to perform a high-angle rescue.
Trooper Sullivan tied himself into the climbing rope and was lowered by Trooper Cahn and firefighters. After he reached the victims and determined they were uninjured, Trooper Sullivan attached a rope, which was previously thrown to the victim, to his dog to have it hoisted to safety. Once the dog was safe, he took off the rope that he was secured with and fastened it to the victim. Once the victim was hoisted safely, the rope was thrown back down to Trooper Sullivan and his partner and firefighters pulled him to safety.
Troopers Sullivan and Cahn and the assisting first responders spent nearly two hours in the rain, darkness, and cold temperatures working together to save the hiker and his dog. Fredon Township EMS treated the victim on scene and cleared him to be released.
To see body camera video, go to https://twitter.com/njsp/status/1181999542440468481?s=21