For Immediate Release
A good plan produced a good outcome for a backcountry search this week near West Yellowstone.
On August 27, 2011, at 5:47 p.m. a Bozeman resident called the Gallatin County Sheriffs Office and said that he was concerned about his wife and another couple from the Bozeman area who were hiking near Coffin Lake, which is northwest of West Yellowstone.
He said that the three hikers parked their vehicle at the Coffin Lake trailhead on Friday the 26th and planned to camp that evening in a pre-determined area in between lower and upper Coffin Lake. He said that he received an “all okay” message from his wife’s SPOT satellite GPS messenger that evening at the prearranged time. The caller said that he planned to fly to the area the next day in a helicopter and photograph the campers by the lake. He said that when he arrived at 8:30 a.m. he did not see the hikers at the pre-determined spot. Later that day when he did not receive another “all okay” message from his wife at the arranged time, he requested assistance.
Personnel from the West Yellowstone division of Gallatin County Search and Rescue, the U. S. Forest Service, and the Gallatin County Sheriffs Office assisted with the search.
While search crews headed to the area, the caller flew to the area in a helicopter to assist with the search. While he was enroute he received an “all okay” message from his wife’s SPOT messenger. This also provided her current GPS coordinates. The caller flew to the coordinates and found the three hikers. They were in camp and gave the thumbs up sign. Since nobody has spoken with the hikers it is currently unknown what caused their delay.
“We had a great and safe outcome today because the involved parties were prepared and had a plan to take immediate action when it appeared that there was trouble,” said Gallatin County Sheriff Jim Cashell. ###