(West Yellowstone, Mont.)
On February 15, 2016 at 10:15 a.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department dispatch center received a 911 call reporting a 53 year old male snowmobiler had collided with a tree. He was traveling with a group of five other snowmobilers. The male was in and out of consciousness at the time of the initial call. Approximately 15 minutes later dispatch received an additional 911 call indicating that the male had stopped breathing and the group had begun CPR.
Personnel from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, US Forest Service, and the West Yellowstone Division of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to the GPS coordinates collected from the two calls to dispatch. The incident was near the old ski hill in the Lionshead area, approximately 10 miles west of West Yellowstone. Responders were able to locate the injured snowmobiler and immediately took over CPR. After performing CPR for well over 30 minutes, rescue efforts were halted and the individual was pronounced deceased by an on-scene Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Coroner.
The male snowmobiler was identified as Edward Collins Eldridge of Duvall, Washington.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin extends his condolences to Mr. Eldridge’s family and friends. When recreating in the backcountry, it is important to remember to travel with friends and to have a reliable means of emergency communication. In this case, the snowmobiler was traveling with friends and they were able to reach 911 immediately.
The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office coroner is investigating the crash.
Update. He was wearing a helmet and his party did have emergency and rescue gear.