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Scout billed for mountain rescue

CONCORD, N.H., July 19 (UPI) -- An Eagle Scout who survived two nights high on Mount Washington in April has been billed more than $25,000 by New Hampshire for the cost of rescuing him.

The state Fish and Game Department said its investigators have determined Scott Mason, 17, was negligent, the Boston Herald reported Saturday. The department told him to pay $25,234 within 30 days.

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Mason, a resident of Halifax, Mass., got lost during a solo hike in April. Mount Washington's weather has been described as the worst in the world with snow, high winds and low temperatures possible almost any day of the year.

Mason survived by building a shelter and using hand-sanitizer as fuel for a fire.

Maj. Tim Acerno, head of law enforcement for Fish and Game, said the state has sent bills for 40 of 131 rescues for the year ending June 30 but acknowledged Mason's was the highest. Acerno said the scout was reckless and negligent for hiking an "aggressive" trail in bad conditions.

Immediately after Mason was found, Acerno had more praise, describing his hike to the Quincy Patriot-Ledger as "ambitious."

"Once he was lost, he did everything right," Acerno had told the Patriot-Ledger.

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