Crews Prepare for Recovery Mission at Mt. Pisgah

WESTMORE, Vt. - Crews in the Northeast Kingdom will be conducting one of the most technical recovery missions Vermont’s rescue coordinator can remember.

A body was found on a ledge on Mt. Pisgah in Westmore on Monday. Officials have taken the last several days to plan every step to retrieve it.

While the body is unidentified, police have been in contact with the family of Tyler Robinson.

Robinson, 23, was last seen on May 12.

“From what I hear, he was a very nice guy,” said Kristin Atwood, Barton town clerk.

Atwood says, at first people in town were hopeful he would be found alive.

Robinson was living in Orleans, a village in Barton, when he went missing.

News of an unidentified body found Monday on Mt. Pisgah in Westmore has them concerned.

“We're so sad for the family that they're being retraumatized by not having the closure of knowing this was their son, this was their brother, this was their friend,” said Atwood, while thanking recovery crews for their work.

Police may be able to give his family closure on Saturday.

“There's unanswered questions for us and unanswered questions for them but they're holding up very well,” said Capt. Robert Cushing, with Vermont State Police.

Capt. Cushing says, other than Robinson, no other missing person cases come to mind.

“BCI, the criminal division, has been doing an investigation alongside of the recovery mission. Obviously there will be more things done once the body is recovered,” said Capt. Cushing.

Crews from several agencies and organizations, including Stowe Mountain Rescue, the Vermont National Guard and Colchester Technical Rescue, are figuring out the best way to recover the body Saturday.

“Right now, we have these teams up on the mountain and they're trying to assess that, as to whether or not we will need an aircraft or whether we can do it by hand,” said Capt. Cushing.

Officials say the reason it has taken several days to execute this recovery is to plan for dangerous conditions.

“It’s a question of the terrain,” said Neil Van Dyke, the search and rescue coordinator for the Vermont Department of Public Safety. “It's not only very steep but there a lot of objective hazards because of loose rock. That's one of the reasons why it's taken several days to get back up here is that we needed to take quite a bit of times to carefully plan how we're going to approach the subject."

Van Dyke says the body was found on a narrow ledge below a 300 foot drop.

Under the ledge is another 200 foot vertical drop.

“I've been involved in search and rescue for 37 years and I would say this is one of the more challenging instances from a technical standpoint,” said Van Dyke.

“The safety of people that are living and going down there to retrieve this body is paramount in this mission,” said Capt. Cushing. “We don't want somebody else to get hurt, killed."

The recovery mission is scheduled to begin Saturday morning.

Capt. Cushing believes it will take several hours.

In the meantime, the trails on Mt. Pisgah in Willoughby State Forest.


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