Saturday, June 13, 2015

Almost makes prison look better

The two escaped convicts from Dannamora, unless they managed to find an unknown vehicle to flee the area, are probably still in what can only be called an inhospitable area. And that is not referring to the massive police effort to recapture them. Mother Nature is not kind at this time and place, even to the experienced campers.
These rolling woods, just miles from the New York State prison where two convicted killers escaped a week ago, can be brutally unforgiving to the unacquainted. It is easy to get disoriented, local residents say, and between the bugs and the wet weather, it might be the second worst time of year for anyone to try seek refuge there. Winter, of course, would be far worse.

“I’m sure if they’re out in the elements, they’re not having a good time,” said Dan Ladd, an outdoors columnist for a local newspaper, The Press-Republican, in Plattsburgh. “It can’t be fun.”

For days, hundreds of searchers have been working around the clock, pushing deeper into an area of homes and dense woodlands, trying to find Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, who turns 35 on Sunday, after their escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y. If the men have been stuck in this muddy thicket of pine and spruce since their escape, they have been confronted by inhospitable conditions that could make finding food, water and shelter a challenge but would also complicate the efforts to track them down.

“You’ve got to assume they’re cold, wet, tired and hungry,” Major Charles E. Guess of the New York State Police said in a news conference on Friday. Even experienced campers and hikers would be challenged by conditions in the woods, and there is no evidence that the two men had any extensive outdoor skills...

Those who know the terrain have made jokes that, if the men are in these woods, they are surprised the pair have not turned themselves over to the authorities by now, beaten up by nature and begging for a break. The rain has fallen regularly and hard. The woods are filled with skunks, porcupines and black bears. Then there are the bugs that swarm the forest this time of year: black flies, ticks and deer flies.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if when they get them, they’re going to be severely bug bitten,” said Brandon Minogue, 25, an emergency medical technician from Plattsburgh who was waiting for calls at the firehouse in Cadyville...

Survival experts say sustenance is available: The woods are crowded with deer during these months, so they could kill one and eat the meat. Wild strawberries, or the inner bark of some trees, such as birch and white pine, can also be eaten. But there are still plenty of hardships. If they wanted to start a fire for warmth or cooking, they would have to be careful because the smoke could give away their location. They may not have the necessary tools to hunt. “And unless they know their edible plants, which I highly doubt these guys do, they’re in trouble,” Mr. Hobel said.
The rains mean they should have water, not necessarily clean, but food and shelter are probably beyond their means. We will know for certain if they survive.


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