Sunday, May 7, 2023

Missing ATV Rider Prompts Search in Ashland; Found Later with Injuries

A search and rescue in Ashland late Saturday/Early Sunday brought together dozens of rescuers and volunteers from across four counties to help look for a missing ATV rider.

Saturday's incident began around 10:00pm, when it was reported to police that an ATV rider, David Hole, 35, of Leesport, who was riding with friends on Famous Riding Outdoors land and did not return to the Catawissa Road Parking Lot, where his truck and trailer were parked.  Hole was also known to have some medical issues.

With only minimal information, and miles and miles of trails, Hole could have been anywhere.  By the time the search was called, rescuers only had information based on a ping of his cell phone around 7:00pm.  By 10:00pm, his phone was either off or had no battery power.  The information from the ping provided a 6-mile radius from a cell tower south of Ashland.

Rescuers began their search of the FRO trails from the area near the Catawissa Road Parking Lot where the command post was established.  Volunteer firefighters that knew the area followed the trails looking for anything off course, but they turned up negative.

By this time, more search crews from Columbia and Northumberland County arrived to assist.

The base operations of the incident were moved to the Pioneer Tunnel in Ashland due to the information from that ping, leading them to think, Hole was on the south side of Ashland.

Crews went out on ATV's again to search for these trails behind the Pioneer Tunnel, which turned up negative.

A State Police Helicopter and a special drone with infrared capabilities from the Snyder County Emergency Management Agency joined in on the search.  

Northumberland Search and Rescue Chief Jerry Mulberger took command of the search and prepared to push the search into the early morning hours.

Just after 1:00am, Sunday, information was received from Schuylkill 911 that Hole had just arrived at a home on Germanville Road, the opposite side of the mountain.

Initially Hole was found to have injuries from being exposed for wearing only a t-shirt and shorts and no shoes in the cool temperatures, but after speaking with him, he was also found to have severe burns on his legs.

Hole told police and EMS he had wrecked his ATV and walked several miles until arriving at the home.

A medical helicopter was called, and Hole was transported from Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest in Allentown.

All units cleared the scene around 2:00am.

Assisting with the search:

  • Ashland Police
  • Washington Fire Company
  • Washington Rescue
  • Washington Ambulance
  • American Hose Company
  • Fountain Springs Fire Company
  • Aristes Fire Company
  • Coal Township Rescue Squad
  • Mount Carmel Rescue Squad
  • Famous Reading Outdoors
  • Northumberland Search and Rescue
  • Snyder County Emergency Management
  • Ryan Township Fire Company Rehab
  • Pennsylvania State Police
  • Martha Washington Ladies Auxiliary