Big Sky Snowmobilers Rescued

img_0248-5.jpegOn January 29th at  5:00 pm the Madison County Sheriff’s Office received a call requesting assistance from two lost 37 year old male snowmobilers. They became disoriented in the Buck Ridge Trail Area near Big Sky.  

Madison County Sheriff’s Office quickly dispatched two snowmobilers to the area and requested additional assistance from The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and members of Big Sky Search & Rescue.  

 Gallatin County Deputies and BSSAR volunteers responded immediately and a search plan was formulated.  Neither man had food, water or survival gear. It was also learned that one of the men had become stuck and had abandoned his snowmobile.  Shortly thereafter a snow storm set in on the area of operation. A rescue team was able to meet up with the lost snowmobilers and found the second snowmobile had also become stuck in heavy snow. Rescuers were able to assist those individuals in getting their snowmobiles free and escorted them back to the Doe Creek Trailhead. Neither of the men sustained physical injury, but both were very tired and in need of water.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers that since snowmobiling often occurs in remote locations; it is important to learn what to do if you become stranded and how to keep warm in changing terrain and weather conditions. It is also extremely important that you carry at least one reliable source of communication, such as a cell phone or emergency GPS satellite messaging device. Being able to communicate with your travel companions and emergency responders can save lives.

  
(Bozeman, Mont.)

Gallatin County Sheriff/Coroner Brian Gootkin announced today that on January 24, 2016 at 01:33 am, Manny Kalfell was pronounced deceased at his S. Rouse residence. 

Fire Victim Identified

On Wednesday, January 20, 2016, at 5:50 AM, the Gallatin County Coroner’s Office was notified of a death on Ivan Street in Bozeman. 44 year-old Rosanna Yvette De La Cruz was found deceased in her partially burned home.

The death is under investigation by our office and the Bozeman Police Department.

Being Prepared to Spend the Night Out – Good, Not Telling Someone Where You are Going – Not so Good

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(West Yellowstone, Mont.)

On January 20, 2016 at 7:00 a.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department dispatch center received a call reporting five snowmobilers who had not returned home from the previous day’s ride.  The caller was the wife of one of the riders.  Attempts to contact his cell phone and the phones of his riding companions went unanswered.  The wife advised that she did not know where they had gone riding, but that they were experienced riders and had survival gear.

Personnel from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and the West Yellowstone Division of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to search for the missing snowmobilers.  Responders were able to locate the vehicle and snowmobile trailer of one of the missing riders in the Beaver Creek Trailhead area, approximately 20 miles northwest of West Yellowstone.  Search and Rescue personnel on snowmobiles were able to locate the missing snowmobilers a few miles up the trail from the trailhead.

Four of the missing snowmobilers were from Minnesota and one was from Florida, and was also a part time resident of West Yellowstone.  They were all experienced snowmobilers and had a very good knowledge of the area.  They had been backcountry riding the previous afternoon in a deep bowl at the head of Beaver Creek and were unable to climb back out.  After several attempts, and with the sun having gone down, they decided to make camp for the night.  They all had survival gear; they built a fire, and enjoyed an evening in Gallatin County’s backcountry.  In the morning, they were able to find a route out of the bowl they were in and worked their way back out to the trail where they meet up with Search and Rescue personnel.  All of the riders had cell phones, but were in an area with no reception.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers that since snowmobiling often occurs in remote locations, tell someone where you plan on going and when you expect to be out.  It is important to learn what to do if you become stranded.  Proper clothing, survival gear, and a reliable means of communication should be mandatory.  A cellular phone can be a terrific asset if trouble arises, but bear in mind that cell phones have limited service range.  If you are going into the backcountry, consider a satellite phone or an emergency messenger device as well.  In this case, the riders knowledge of what to do and the survival gear they were carrying, allowed them to survive the evening in winter conditions.

Beaver Cr search 1-2016

Avalanche Victim Identified

On January 19, 2016, at approximately 4:09P.M., the Gallatin County Sheriff`s Office received a call from Big Sky Medical Clinic advising they were receiving an avalanche victim who did not survive.

A Deputy Coroner responded to the Big Sky Medical Clinic and identified the 34 year-old male resident of Big Sky as Darren Johnson. Even though there were rescuers on scene in a very short time period after the avalanche, they were unable to revive the patient.

Three Rescues over the Weekend for Snowmobilers in Gallatin County

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(Gallatin County, Mont.)

On January 17, 2016, at 2:48 p.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch received a third party 911 call reporting a snowmobiler in Cabin Creek who had sustained head and face injuries when a large branch struck him just under his right eye through his open face shield. The snowmobiler, a 59 year old male from St. James Minnesota, was reported bleeding profusely from the wound.

Personnel from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, The U.S. Forest Service, and the West Yellowstone Division of Sheriff’s  Search and Rescue, responded.

A Deputy was able to make contact with the three person group and establish that the injured snowmobiler could still ride.  A Rescue team was dispatched to intercept the group as they slowly traveled out to the Fir Ridge parking lot. Rescuers escorted them safely to a waiting Hebgen Basin Fire Department ambulance.

The injured snowmobiler declined EMS treatment and opted instead to travel by personal vehicle to the hospital in Ennis.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers to be ever mindful of the hazards present while enjoying their chosen sport. Protective equipment should be worn in accordance with manufactures specifications in order to provide the protection expected of the equipment. A properly adjusted and utilized helmet is an extremely important piece of protective gear especially in heavily tree covered areas where snowmobilers may not be able to avoid hazards such as tree branches and tree wells.

On January 16, 2016 at 5:30 p.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch center received a call from three snowmobilers who had become separated from the fourth snowmobiler in their group.  The missing snowmobiler was a 25 year old female and she was riding with her 3 year old son.  The two of them became separated from the group in heavy snow and near white out conditions in the Edward’s Peninsula area of Horse Butte.

Personnel from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, West Yellowstone Division of Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, and Forest Service Personnel responded.  Multiple rescue teams searched the Horse Butte area as well as areas across the lake from the peninsula.  A rescue team was able to meet up with the reporting parties who had also become stuck in heavy snow.  Rescuers were able to assist those individuals in getting to their home.

After abandoning her snowmobile, the missing female and her child were eventually able to walk across the lake to a house with a light on and the homeowner assisted her in contacting her family and friends.  The female and child were uninjured, but exhausted both physically and mentally.  They had no survival gear with them and no cell phone.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers that since snowmobiling often occurs in remote locations; it is important to learn what to do if you become stranded and how to keep warm in changing terrain and weather conditions.  It is also extremely important that you carry at least one reliable source of communication, such as a cell phone or emergency GPS satellite messaging device.   Being able to communicate with your travel companions and emergency responders can save lives.

On 16 January 2016 at 2:00 P.M., two Billings men, 25 and 26 years old contacted Livingston dispatch requesting rescue after their snowmobiles become hopelessly stuck after traveling off the primary route and into some low ground above Fairy Lake North of Bridger Bowl.  The men were quickly located by two members of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team on snowmobiles after locating tracks leading off into a dangerous section of terrain.  Rescuers were able to safely get the two men and their equipment out of the backcountry.  The Sheriff would like to remind back country enthusiasts to check the weather conditions and avalanche reports before entering the backcountry; know the terrain you plan to enter and always be prepared for an overnight stay in the event of an emergency. Photograph courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office.

Cabin Cr rescue 1-2016

Avalanche in the Bridgers

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(Gallatin County, Mont.)

Thursday at about 11:42 A.M. a skier at Bridger Bowl reported seeing an avalanche just south of the ski area boundary in an area called the Football Field. The witness did not see anyone caught in the slide. Members of Sheriff’s Search and Rescue that were already on the mountain searched the area with avalanche transceivers and did not locate a signal. All skiers riding the Schlasman’s lift are required to wear a transceiver.  At 12:30 the search was completed with no indication that anyone had been caught in the slide. The avalanche had a three foot crown and was about 100 yards wide. Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind skiers to check the avalanche forecast and always ski with a partner before heading into the backcountry.  The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center is following up on conditions and causes of the slide.

photo courtesy of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office

Football field avalanche 1-2016

Evening Call Prevents Late Night Search

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(West Yellowstone, Mont.)

On January 4, 2016, at 7:24 p.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch received a 911 call from two snowmobilers who were stuck in the deep powder near Two Top Mountain approximately 7 miles southwest of West Yellowstone. The snowmobilers a Father/Son  team from Las Angeles California, had become disoriented trying to find their way out of a canyon in the dark and were unable to extract their heavy 4 stroke snowmobiles from the powder. They had no survival gear with them aside from a few bottles of water

Personnel from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, and the West Yellowstone Division of Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, responded to assist with the rescue.

Rescuers quickly located the two snowmobilers using the GPS coordinates retrieved from the 911 call and were able to escort them safely back to West Yellowstone. The snowmobilers were cold and tired but otherwise uninjured.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind beginner snowmobilers to ride within their skill level and stay on marked trails. Never enter an unknown area in the dark if it can be avoided.  A cellular phone can be a terrific asset if trouble arises, but bear in mind that cell phones have limited service range and cold temperatures can lead to excessive battery drain. Snowmobilers should also have a basic survival kit with them at all times.

New Years Eve Cold Rescue

  
(West Yellowstone, Mont.)

On December 31, 2015, at 9:41 p.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatchreceived a 911 call from a lost snowmobiler. The caller, a 35 year old male from Belgrade Montana, reported that he and three people with him had become disoriented, after getting stuck and being unable to start one of their two snowmobiles. A female member of the party had suffered a head injury in a minor snowmobile crash earlier in the day and another female had become mildly hypothermic due to temperatures in the minus 20 degree range and improper clothing. Sheriff’s Deputies, the West Yellowstone Division of Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, and Forest Service responded.  

Rescuers responded on snowmobiles to the GPS coordinates retrieved from the 911 call where they located the snowmobilers. Rescuers transported all four members of the group to Fir Ridge where a Hebgen Basin Fire Department Ambulance transported one of the females to the Big Sky Medical Center.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers that since snowmobiling often occurs in remote locations, it is important to learn what to do if you become stranded, how to keep warm in changing terrain and weather conditions, and basic principles about how to care for injuries that may occur on the trail or in the backcountry. Proper clothing and properly maintained equipment should be some of the first things considered when planning a trip.