New Jersey troopers rescue missing man found deep in woods suffering from hypothermia

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Friday, January 6, 2023
New Jersey troopers rescue missing man found deep in woods
New Jersey troopers found a missing man deep in the woods in Passaic County suffering from hypothermia just days before Christmas. Anthony Johnson has more.

TOTOWA, New Jersey (WABC) -- New Jersey troopers found a missing man deep in the woods suffering from hypothermia just days before Christmas.

Thomas McHugh, 58, went to Stokes Forrest on a Utility Terrain Vehicle and got stuck on a tree stump.

He was missing for 30 hours and his daughter contacted police who began the desperate search.

"They immediately started looking because it was freezing," daughter Melissa McHugh said.

On Dec. 17, authorities followed his footprints in the snow and found he had become separated from his walking stick and his right boot.

They found him a short distance later, lying face up with labored breathing and a body temperature of 71 degrees.

The troopers took off their jackets to cover the man and put their ballistics vests under him to keep him off the frozen ground. Then they took turns rubbing him in an attempt to transfer body heat.

"It's like a sternum rub to get blood flowing, kind of generate heat by rubbing the chest, the chest is the most vital part of the body where you need to generate the most heat," Trooper Robert Hoffman said.

McHugh had apparently walked away from his stuck vehicle to try to find help but got lost.

"He got disoriented and then he said he sat down and he doesn't remember anything after that, he must have passed out," Melissa McHugh said.

The troopers walked two and half miles through the woods to locate the victim. At that time there was snow on the ground so following the trail was easier.

Six state troopers were able to carry McHugh half a mile in the cold, dark woods to an awaiting emergency vehicle that took him to the hospital.

He has now fully recovered thanks to the state troopers who say they were trained to save lives.

"We don't get a lot of times to have this type of ending, but you know what, it does feel good," said Det. Darren Crane.

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