Sheriff’s SAR Team’s Training Turns Real

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(Gallatin County, Mont.)

On June 15, 2014 at 12:20 pm, the Alpine Rescue team along with other members of Sheriff’s Search and Rescue at Big Sky, were conducting scheduled training exercises at House Rock on the Gallatin River. A vehicle approached the Deputy there and stated that his girlfriend had been involved in a climbing accident nearby, falling 25’ and injuring her arm and back.

The reporting party identified the location as Black Line Buttress, a popular rock climbing destination located in the Gallatin Canyon approximately ¼ mile from where the teams were training. A small SAR team responded immediately, arriving at the victim’s location 11 minutes later. The remaining SAR team staged at the Lava Lake parking lot to meet up with Big Sky Fire Department and other Sheriff’s SAR personnel who were arriving with additional rescue gear. Additional SAR responders left the staging area arriving approximately 18 minutes later with those additional medical supplies.

The victim, a 24 year old female visiting from Maine, had suffered a badly broken arm and a back injury. Sheriff’s SAR and Big Sky Fire Department personnel treated those injuries, immobilized the victim and transported her down the mountain to the staging area where Summit air was standing by. The victim was then transferred to the care of Summit Air personnel and flown to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital in Bozeman for further treatment.

According to the reporting party, the victim and he were not very familiar with the area they were climbing and were unaware that the repel they were attempting required two separate repels. The Sheriff’s office reminds everyone to always climb with a companion, check your gear, and familiarize yourself with the area you are climbing.#####

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