Pilots in mountain rescue win new Lifesaving Award

Couple rescued from state's second-highest peak have largely recovered from injuries
Blake Alois and Maddie Popolizio at Alois' home in Niskayuna.
Blake Alois and Maddie Popolizio at Alois' home in Niskayuna.

The state police pilots who helped rescue a pair of stranded Niskayuna hikers from the top of Algonquin mountain more than a year ago were named Wednesday as the inaugural recipients of the Division of Criminal Justice Services’ Lifesaving Award.

Technical Lt. Peter R. McLain and Technical Sgt. Brian D. Rumrill flew a state police helicopter near the summit of Algonquin, risking windy and cloudy conditions, to airlift Maddie Popolizio and Blake Alois from the state’s second-highest peak, where they had been stranded for two nights.

The award, announced in a statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was created to honor nominees for Police Officer of the Year whose actions helped save lives. The pair’s actions “exemplify the courage and bravery of New York’s first responders,” Cuomo said in the statement. 

Alois and Popolizio, high school sweethearts who huddled together on Algonquin for two nights in deep snow and cold temperatures, have largely recovered from their injuries and have taken multiple occassions to thank their rescuers. State Forest Rangers and volunteer rescue crews also played a critical role in the sweeping search-and-rescue operation that unfolded over nearly three days in December 2016.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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