For Immediate Release
On August 10, 2011, at approximately 1755 hours, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call reporting a man missing on the Gallatin River a short distance south of Norris Road. It was initially reported that the missing man had last been seen carrying a cooler, but that the cooler was seen shortly afterward floating downstream by itself. Personnel from Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, Sheriff’s Deputies, Gallatin Gateway Fire Department, and AMR responded to the scene. During the response, dispatch received further information that the victim was trapped underwater beneath a submerged log.
The first arriving responders were taken to the scene, which was a location where the Gallatin River makes a sharp bend and enters a narrow, fast channel. Search and Rescue personnel utilizing an inflatable Zodiac boat were able to reach the victim’s location. Personnel on shore held the boat in position with lines while rescuers in the boat struggled to reach the victim underwater. The unresponsive victim was freed from the debris and taken in the boat to a waiting AMR ambulance. He was pronounced dead on scene.
The victim, 33-year-old Seth Gregory Simmons of Bozeman had been on a floating trip with four friends. A raft in which he had been floating was punctured and deflated, so he and one other friend continued downstream “free-floating”, while the three others floated in tubes. After the first four passed through the fast, narrow channel safely, they did not see Simmons appear, but did see the cooler which he had been carrying float by. Simmons’ friends located him and found he was trapped, but were unable to free him; they found someone nearby on shore with a phone and called 911.