- The rescue missions were carried out in freezing temperatures
- A New Hampshire National Guard helicopter was used to carry Sotelo’s remains
- Sotelo was a student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville
A 20-year-old hiker has been found dead on a New Hampshire mountain after she went missing more than three days ago. Her body was discovered after an extensive search and rescue mission in chilling temperatures.
Emily Sotelo, from Massachusetts, went hiking on a popular trail, which covers Mount Lafayette, Haystack and Flume, but she went missing Sunday. Temperatures dipped to zero and winds blew at a speed of 30-40 mph in the area earlier this week, New York Post reported.
Based on her family members’ complaint, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Law Enforcement Division kicked off an operation to locate Sotelo on Monday. Officials discovered Sotelo’s tracks and belongings near Lafayette Brook.
Sotelo’s remains were found at 11.15 a.m. Wednesday on the northwest side of Mount Lafayette. A New Hampshire National Guard aircraft then moved her body to the Cannon Mountain Ski Area. It was not known what cause her death.
A team of more than 60 ground searchers was deployed to look for Sotelo. The crew also had the help of helicopters whenever the weather permitted. The Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team also joined the mission.
“A hiker in good shape can probably do it in no time in summer conditions,” Fish and Game Captain Michael Eastman told TV station WMUR. He explained that the conditions had been extreme this week for rookie climbers.
Fish and Game Major David Walsh said the “biggest lessons learned in a tragedy like this is when you are hiking in New Hampshire, especially in the White Mountains, be prepared for the unexpected.”
“Be prepared with knowledge. Know the weather conditions. Dress for the weather conditions. Have extra clothes. Have extra food, water. Have a headlamp map, a compass,” Walsh told ABC affiliate WMUR-TV.
Sotelo, a native of Westford, Massachusetts, was a student at Vanderbilt University. She was a sophomore majoring in biochemistry and chemical biology. A spokesperson for the university told The Tennessean that Sotelo was also the community service chair for the DORE Initiative and public relations chair for Big Dore Lil Dore.