An experienced 78-year-old hiker who had been missing since Thursday at Baxter State Park was found alive and well Sunday afternoon.

A Maine Forest Service helicopter crew spotted John Lyon of Dumfries, Virginia, on a rock slide about 1:30 p.m., said Jeff Currier, a regional forest ranger for the forest service.

The crew landed and hiked to Lyon, who was flown off Mount Coe to Millinocket Municipal Airport, where he was taken by ambulance to Millinocket Regional Hospital for observation.

“He’s doing great for three days spent thrashing around the woods,” said Jensen Bissell, Baxter State Park’s director, who visited Lyon in the hospital Sunday afternoon.

John Lyon of Dumfries, Virginia, sits in a helicopter after being rescued at Baxter State Park on Sunday. He had been missing since Thursday.

John Lyon of Dumfries, Virginia, sits in a helicopter after being rescued at Baxter State Park on Sunday. He had been missing since Thursday. Staff file photo by David Leaming

Bissell said Lyon told him he prayed for his own safe return for the first time Sunday as he continued to wander around the rugged terrain of Mount Coe, elevation 3,795 feet.

“He knew he had made some mistakes, but he kept going,” Bissell said.

Bissell said Lyon was found about two miles from the OJI-Coe-Marston trail loop, where he went missing Thursday after leaving his three hiking companions at lunchtime, planning to hike ahead.

Bissell said Lyon probably would have managed to find the trail by himself had he not been rescued Sunday.

He was in good shape, except for scratches from the rugged terrain. He was carrying three granola bars, which he parceled out over the three days he was missing. There was plenty of water around to drink, Bissell said. He said it helped that Lyon was wearing a white hat, which made him easier to spot.

Lyon’s daughter was with him Sunday afternoon in Millinocket, Bissell said.

John Lyon of Dumfries, Virginia, at Millnocket Regional Hospital. Maine Forest Rangers photo

John Lyon of Dumfries, Virginia, at Millinocket Regional Hospital. Maine Forest Rangers photo Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

 

On Sunday, about 50 park rangers, Maine game wardens, dog teams and volunteers combed through remote and rugged terrain near a trail they had searched earlier.

Volunteer searchers were still straggling in several hours after the search ended. Bissell said it was the systematic, coordinated search efforts by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Maine Forest Service and volunteers that helped bring about a happy ending to the search.

“This is a well-orchestrated science,” Bissell said of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife search efforts.

Map shows the search areas for missing hiker John Lyon. Mat courtesy of Maine Forest Rangers

Map shows the search areas for missing hiker John Lyon. Map courtesy of Maine Forest Rangers

 

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