(11 a.m. Dec. 2) — Updated with additional information from the Dryden Fire Department. 

DRYDEN, N.Y. — Two women who were missing for nine hours Saturday after getting separated from a friend cross-country skiing were located safe after a coordinated search involving over a dozen local agencies.

New York State Police said three women from Ithaca were cross-country skiing Saturday, Dec. 1, when two became separated along the trails in Hammond Hill State Forest, which has about 16 miles of trails in parts of Dryden, Caroline and Richford. New York State Police at Ithaca were called to Hammond Hill Road in Dryden at about 3 pm. Saturday.

Dryden Fire and Rescue responded with a tracked UTV vehicle, an ATV and two snowmobiles, Dryden Fire Department Deputy Chief Mark Bell said in a news release. Command posts were set up and coordinated searches were conducted of ski trails and seasonal roads in the state forest and surrounding areas, Bell said.

After about nine hours, at 12:15 a.m. Sunday, the two women were found safe by a volunteer firefighter, Dryden Fire Department said. Both women were evaluated by Dryden EMS and found to be “wet, tired, and mildly hypothermic,” Dryden Fire said, but they refused further medical treatment. No one was injured in the search.


Several agencies helped with the search, including Cortlandville Fire Dept.; Cortland County Search Team; Dryden Ambulance; fire departments of Dryden, Enfield, Freeville, Groton, McLean, Moravia, Trumansburg; Tompkins County Dept. of Emergency Response; Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office; Cortland County Sheriff’s Department; Tioga County Sheriff’s Department; Tioga County Cayuga County Sheriff’s Department; Tioga County Search Team; New York State Police; New York State Park Police; New York State Forest Rangers; New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police; the New York State Division of Homeland Security; and Emergency Services and the New York State Office of Emergency Management.

Featured image: Hammond Hill State Forest trail map. (Courtesy of DEC)

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.