A Massachusetts man who died on Father's Day weekend, shortly after being rescued from a New Hampshire trail near Mt. Clay, is being remembered by his family as a loving husband and adoring father with a zest for life.
Xi Chen's grieving widow spoke to NBC10 Boston Monday night and said her husband's future was cut short. He leaves behind his wife and three kids.
"He had so many plans ahead of him," Lian Liu said. "Unfortunately this happened."
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The avid hiker was attempting a "Presidential Traverse" through the White Mountains when he was overcome by treacherous weather conditions.
"There was accumulating snow, there was driving rain, there was freezing rain. It was iced," Bob Mancini, with NH Fish and Game, said of the conditions.
Liu says she started getting text messages from her husband around 5:30 p.m. Saturday when he wrote, "In trouble...can't move."
She asked if she should call rescue and he responded, "Yes, could die."
"I text him, call or text 911 so they'll know where you are from your phone. No response," Liu recalled.
Chen's text messages stopped coming.
Rescuers endured driving rain, blowing snow, and winds gusting to over 80 mph to reach Chen on Gulfside Trail Saturday night. The 53-year-old Andover resident was unresponsive and suffering from severe hypothermia, but he still had signs of life.
Conservation officers with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department say rescuers carried Chen over a mile up to the summit of Mt. Washington, where he was placed on a truck and driven down the mountain's auto road, to a local hospital, but he was unable to be revived despite several hours of life-saving efforts.
Chen was pronounced dead at Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin.
Liu says her husband was an experienced hiker who had already completed 19 of the state's 4,000 footers. He was working on his 20th when it ultimately cost him his life.
"He's not a quitter, that probably actually got him into trouble this time," Liu said with a break in her voice.
"He loves his family. He loves his job, loves life."