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Rescued hiker may have to foot the bill

CONCORD (AP) – An 80-year-old hiker who was rescued trying to reach the summit of Mount Washington could end up footing the bill for the emergency services, New Hampshire officials said Tuesday, amid efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of the popular tourist destination.

Authorities may even file criminal charges in the case, after two relatives left James Clark behind, Maj. David Walsh of the state’s Fish and Game Department said.

Walsh said he wasn’t aware of anyone ever being charged criminally in a case like this, but he could not say what the charges might be or even who might be charged, noting that officials were in the early stages of their consideration.

Clark was found Friday immobile in the fetal position with signs of hypothermia hours after telling his two grandsons to go on without him. Clark was treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and released Saturday.

“This probably wouldn’t have happened,” if the group had stayed together, Lt. Mark Ober of Fish and Game said.