(Gallatin County, Mont.) The evening of Tuesday, July 07, 2015, continued the busy weekend for the members of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue. Rescuers responded to two back country searches. The second search was initiated within minutes of the conclusion of the first search.
Around 6:56 pm a man called Sheriff’s Deputies concerned about his 56 year old mother. She had left home to go to the grocery store several hours earlier and had not returned. When he called her she did not know where she was and seemed confused. Responding deputies and dispatch were able to narrow down the woman’s location by having her call 911 from her cell phone. As search and rescue members were heading to the area to search for the woman, deputies were able to locate her via voice communication. The woman had left her vehicle and attempted to walk through an extremely swampy and wet area south of Reese Creek Rd. The woman had sunk into the mud to a point she could no longer move. She was in the middle of thick brush and trees and could not be seen until deputies walked within yards of her. However, the mud was so deep that deputies could not get her out. She was suffering from being too cold as she was sitting in water as well as being stuck in mud. The weather also turned for the worse when a rain and lightning storm moved into the area.
Search and rescue members battled thigh deep mud to get to the woman. They used ropes, a litter, and plenty of manpower to get the woman safely out of the area. She was transferred to a waiting AMR ambulance for transport to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.
Around 9:52 pm, a 45 year old male called for help. He was riding his mountain bike on the Bear Canyon Loop when he became lost. Responders were able to get a tentative location of the man from the information his cell phone provided to dispatch when he called 911. He was on a trail approximately three miles southwest of the closed gate on Goose Creek Rd off of Trail Creek Rd. Radio operators relayed messages between the man via text messaging and responding rescuers via radio. Rescuers initially travelled towards the man’s location with vehicles. They had to repeatedly stop to clear deadfall from their path. Later, mud and terrain made rescuers switch to travelling by foot.
The lost man carried a whistle with him that aided rescuers in locating him. Around 1:05 am rescuers made contact with the lost man and escorted him back to their waiting vehicles. They helped warm him up and gave him a ride out of the area. Rescuers turned the man over to a waiting deputy for transport back to his car at the Bear Canyon Trailhead.
Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind people to always carry a means of communication. The lost persons’ cell phones in these two cases provided vital location information that ultimately helped lead to their successful rescues.
Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue is a completely volunteer group that works under a sworn deputy on search and rescue missions. The members are experts in a variety of disciplines related to search and rescue. Members from the various Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Divisions can respond to incidents under water to the highest remote alpine locations regardless of weather conditions, time of day, or season of the year.