(West Yellowstone, Mont.) 2-21-14 0825 hrs
On Thursday February 20, 2014 at approximately 5:00 PM the Sheriff’s Office received a call about a group of lost and stuck snowmobilers in the West Fork of Cream Creek outside of West Yellowstone. A group of six snowmobilers from out of state were snowmobiling on Two Top west of town when four members of the group decided to drop down into the Cream Creek area. The two remaining members of the group decided not to and returned to West Yellowstone. The group of four could not ride out of the area and broke a handlebar on one of the sleds. The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff’s Search and Rescue West Yellowstone division were dispatched and responded. The stuck group was able to call out on cell phones and a location for the group was determined.
The Search and Rescue team responded to the area and attempted to reach that location. Sheriff’s Incident Commander Deputy Ted Quillen said, “When the Rescuers reached the area they encountered very steep, technical terrain, bad weather and significant avalanche danger. After we talked with the missing snowmobilers by phone and made sure they were prepared to spend the night we decided it was prudent to not try and reach that area in the dark.” The group had warm clothing, food and water, and had made a fire and was prepared to spend a long night in the wilderness. An Incident Action Plan was developed for the following morning. Five expert snowmobile riders on high powered sleds from the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team are currently making their way back into the area.
The Gallatin County Sheriff would like to remind everyone to know your equipment and more importantly your limitations when enjoying all that Gallatin County has to offer. The wilderness can be very demanding and unforgiving and should always be respected. Contact Sheriff Brian Gootkin at 406-582-2105