A college student who went missing during a weekend hike in New Hampshire’s White Mountains was found dead Wednesday.
New Hampshire Fish and Game said the body of Emily Sotello of Westford, Mass., was located northwest of Mount Lafayette in Franconia around 11 a.m.
Sotelo had planned to complete the solo hike and was reportedly dropped off by his mother at a campground near Franconia Notch before sunrise Sunday morning.
After he did not return by noon, his mother contacted the NHFG.
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More than a dozen search-and-rescue teams made up of Fish and Game officers and volunteers spent the next day searching for Sotelo, using aircraft and scent-tracking dogs.
Tracks and belongings of the missing woman were found Tuesday afternoon at Lafayette Brook’s headquarters. As of that evening, officials said the crew was conducting a recovery rather than a rescue mission.
When his body was found, an Army National Guard helicopter helped fly him to the Cannon Mountain ski area.
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According to the Associated Press, Sotello was working toward her goal of climbing 48 of New Hampshire’s peaks above 4,000 feet before her 20th birthday. She would have turned 20 on Wednesday, the day her body was found.
Fish and Game officials said the search was difficult as rescuers encountered strong winds, cold temperatures and blowing snow. Sotelo was reportedly unprepared for the conditions as she set out for her hike in a light jacket, hiking boots and long underwear in workout pants.
According to the AP, Fish and Game Maj. David Walsh said, “Weather conditions by Sunday evening were single-digit temperatures, 40 to 60 mph winds, blowing snow, and they’re not dressed for those temperatures.” used to wear.” “These are extreme conditions, and then she went off the trail.”
Although Sotelo was described by his family as an experienced hiker, they said he did not have much winter hiking experience.
Walsh said her death should serve as “a warning to all hikers,” and stressed the importance of preparing for the unexpected.
“Know the weather conditions, dress appropriately for the weather, have extra clothes, extra food, water, a headlamp, a map and a compass,” Walsh said.
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Sotillo was a sophomore studying biochemistry and chemical biology at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. She recently transferred from the College of William and Mary to the school in Nashville, the AP reports.