GRANVILLE, MASS. (WHDH) - Massachusetts State Police are crediting their Air Wing unit with helping find a man in his 70s who was lost in the woods as freezing temperatures started to set in.

An MSP spokesperson said troopers were alerted Thursday night to an incident involving an elderly man who had been walking in Granville State Forest, out in western Hampden County.

Officials learned the man had not returned home and was “long overdue” that evening, leading to state troopers and local firefighters launching a search operation.

Along with MSP K9 units and its Special Emergency Response Team, an MSP Air Wing helicopter was launched, equipped with a “Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera.”

Using his cell phone and the limited service he had, the lost individual was able to tell authorities he saw the Air Wing, leading to the helicopter crew telling him to use his phone’s flashlight as a signal.

“Trooper Kenneth Dinjian instructed dispatchers to tell the man to turn on the flashlight on his phone and point it toward the helicopter; within seconds, the flight crew was able to locate the man using their FLIR and an infrared laser,” said Dave Procopio, MSP’s director of Media Communications.

The flight crew was then able to direct troopers and Granville firefighters to the missing party. With night falling and temperatures dropping well below 30 degrees at the time, Procopio stated the individual could have potentially suffered severe, possibly fatal consequences due to the cold.

“We are extremely grateful that we and our partners at Granville Fire had the opportunity, training, and equipment necessary to make sure this incident had a good ending,” Procopio added.

Video of the State Police Air Wing spotting the individual can be found here.

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