Water Rescue on the Gallatin

(Gallatin County, Mont.)

Monday at 8:50 pm, Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to a water rescue on the Gallatin River between Axtell Anceny Rd and Norris Rd.  A local Magenta Road resident heard what he thought was screaming coming from the river behind his home.  He investigated and found a person stuck under a cut bank on the opposite side of the river.  The 54-year-old woman was part of a group that crashed two rafts and a kayak about an hour earlier.  As more information about boats floating in the river came in, the rescue expanded into a simultaneous search for further victims.  Life Flight helicopter and local landowners assisted search and rescue personnel in the effort.

The woman was stuck next to the water below an actively eroding cut bank. A Search and Rescue boat crew made the rescue and transported her across the river where she was carried to a waiting AMR ambulance and Gateway Fire Fighters.  She was so hypothermic that she could not give responders much specific information about what had happened and how many people were involved.  The other two men and a dog in her group were  located safely on shore further up the river by Search and Rescue personnel about 10:00.  The group was reunited before she was transported to Bozeman Health Hospital by the AMR ambulance.

Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind residents and visitors that the spring run-off makes local rivers and streams extremely hazardous.  The stretch of the Gallatin from the mouth of Gallatin Canyon to Manhattan is full of debris and hazards and not recommended for recreational boating, especially during spring run off.  People that know the river say that this stretch of river is never worth the risk for boating.  In addition if you lose your boat please contact the Sheriff’s Office (582-2100) as soon as you can.  The boat will be reported by someone and cause Deputies and SAR volunteers to investigate and make sure no one is trapped or in need of rescue.

A river safety video from Sheriff’s Search and Rescue is posted here;  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClO47NkTuqo4F_KgHipLJbA

Photo courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office

Sunday Area Closure

(Gallatin County, Mont.) Sunday May 12, 2019 Leverich Canyon trail head and connecting trails are again closed to the public to assist Sheriff’s Search and Rescue on a missing person search.  Sheriff Gootkin and the Custer Gallatin National Forest appreciate the public understanding the need to minimize contamination of the area so that search dogs can be used to best effect.

Missing Butte Man Found Deceased in Missouri River

(Gallatin County, Mont.)

Sunday morning, May 5, Broadwater County Sheriff’s Deputies, Broadwater Search and Rescue along with Gallatin County Sheriff’s Investigators and Coroner responded to a body in the Missouri River at Toston Dam.  Search and Rescue recovered 73-year-old Ronald Lowny of Butte who was reported missing April 10th.  Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue had been searching the area of Drouillard Fishing Access near Three Forks in Gallatin County since his vehicle was found there on April 14th.  The Coroner determined cause of death to be drowning.

Coroner Identification

(Gallatin County, Mont.) The Sheriff/Coroner identified the person who died this morning at Jackrabbit and Cameron Bridge as 67 year old Robert A Melson of Belgrade.  The death was the result of a medical condition and not the vehicle crash that followed.

The identification of the person killed Wednesday on I-90 will not been released until relatives can be contacted.

Late Night for Bozeman Hiker

(Bozeman, Mont.)

On April 25, 2019, at 8:45 pm, the Gallatin County 911 Center received a call about a lost hiker. The caller reported that his 17-year-old son had gone hiking on Sypes Canyon Trail, left the trail and had become lost and stranded in deep snow. The son had water and was well prepared to spend the night if needed. Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to the trailhead to search for him. Because the hiker had a cell phone with battery back-up and knew how to use his GPS app, he was able to text his grid coordinates to searchers and Reach Air Medical Services confirmed the location of the hiker. SAR members hiked into the area and assisted the hiker back to the trailhead by 1:30 this morning.

National Forest and Sheriff’s Office Training Advisory

(Gallatin County, Mont.) Announcement from the Custer Gallatin National Forest and The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

Sunday, April 7th Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue teams will be training in Hyalite Canyon from 1:00 to 5:00.  There will be vehicles on the roadway and helicopters in use.  For those that are enjoying the early season in the canyon please be aware of rescuers and vehicles on the roadway.  There will be no closures and only slight delays if any on Hyalite Canyon Road.#####

Snowmobiler Burned near West Yellowstone

(Gallatin County, Mont.)  On Friday March 29, 2019 at 6:35 pm, the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch center received a 911 call reporting a snowmobile that caught fire on the Horse Butte Trail approximately 8 miles northwest of the Town of West Yellowstone. The reporting party, a 58-year-old female from Montana, had sustained a burnt foot when the snowmobile she was driving caught fire.

Personnel from Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone responded.

Rescuers met the injured party at the scene of the fire approximately 50 minutes after the initial call for help.  The injured rider was traveling on a groomed snowmobile trail when her snowmobile caught fire, burning the rubber on her boot into her foot.  After an initial assessment, rescue personnel placed her on a two-up snowmobile driven by a SAR volunteer and transported her to an ambulance staged a few miles away.  The patient was transported to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for further evaluation and treatment of a severe burn to the side and bottom of her foot.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers to always remember to ride with a partner and carry a reliable means of communication in case of an emergency.  For this rescue event, the injured party was able to contact 911, which provided rescue personnel with an exact GPS location.  Always be prepared for a worst case scenario, even one as unpredictable as this one.


West Yellowstone Rescue Complicated by Technology

(West Yellowstone, Mont.). Saturday at 11:10 a.m. West Yellowstone Police Department received a 911 call from a group of snowmobilers reporting a member of their group had struck a tree. The GPS coordinates indicated that the group was approximately 8 miles west of West Yellowstone. The inured snowmobiler, a 40-year-old man from Switzerland, had sustained face and back injuries and had reportedly lost his helmet in the crash.

Rescuers from Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District, Air Methods and Custer Gallatin National Forest responded.

Rescuers went to the GPS coordinates but were unable to locate the group. Due to the man’s reported injuries, a helicopter from Air Methods was launched and staged a short distance away from the initial scene.

Shortly after a passerby called 911, however the call was routed to Fremont County Idaho Dispatch. They in turn dispatched their rescue team.

At 12:27 p.m., West Yellowstone received a second and third 911 call from the group indicating a different location approximately 3.5 miles further west. While responding to the new location, Gallatin County Rescuers met up with the rescuers from Fremont County. All teams then proceeded to the updated location and found the injured man who was conscious and alert however experiencing a significant amount of pain. He was packaged onto a specialized rescue sled and transported to meet with the Air Methods helicopter. He was then flown to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital for medical evaluation.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said 911 calls from cells phone are often sent to a 911 center who’s jurisdiction is where the tower is located not always on where you are. It’s always a good plan to know where you are so you can tell the 911 operator and help can get to you in the most effective way. The snow conditions combined by the warmer spring temperatures can cause many unforeseen dangers. A reliable communication device may still experience some malfunctions as all technology can. This group made a good decision calling 911 a second time, which allowed rescuers to get a more accurate location.

Photo courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office