Niskayuna hikers found alive in High Peaks

Photo provided:
Papadosio and Alois are seen in this photo from FacebookPhoto provided: Papadosio and Alois are seen in this photo from Facebook

By Zachary Matson

LAKE PLACID – Two hikers from Niskayuna who spent two days in the Adirondack High Peaks have been found alive, according to David Winchell, with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The pair were located about 265 feet below the summit of Algonquin, an Adirondack High Peak. Rescue crews were working to determine how to evacuate them.

State Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers launched a major search for Maddie Popolizio, 19, and Blake Alois, 20, after they failed to return Sunday from a day hike to Algonquin Mountain, according to a DEC press release.

The search was launched after the couple were last heard from at around noon on Sunday, according to a social media page set up to request help in searching for the pair. Papadosio is from Niskayuna, and Alois is from Schenectady, according to their respective Facebook pages. The DEC said later Tuesday morning that both are from Niskayuna. Popolizio uses a different name on her Facebook page.

The DEC issued a prepared statement saying the pair left the Adirondack Loj Trailhead Sunday morning to hike to the summit of Algonquin Mountain, elevation 5,115 feet.

Family members called DEC at 5:42 p.m. on Sunday to report they had not received any communication from the pair since around noon. The family provided the DEC with photos and video taken of Alois and Papadosio taken before the hike, and both appeared to be in good condition and wearing winter clothing.

Forest rangers located the couple’s vehicle and began searching the trails to Algonquin and to Lake Colden until 3:45 a.m. Monday.

Winchell said the pair were planning for a day hike.

On Monday, more than 20 forest rangers searched trails and drainage systems in the area around Algonquin Mountain. Snow, clouds and winds prevented the use of aviation resources and made for difficult search conditions, the DEC said.

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More than two dozen forest rangers, accompanied by members of the state police Special Operations Response Team continued the search Tuesday, along with state police aviation units.

Searchers face below-freezing temperatures, with wind chills below zero, and 3 feet or more of snow, the DEC statement said.

An Incident Command Post has been set up on the grounds of the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Adirondak Loj property, where the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is assisting with communications.