(Gallatin County, Mont.) Sunday, May 28th, at 6:00 pm, Gallatin County 911 received a report of a nine year old girl that slipped and fell into Arch Falls along Hyalite Creek and had not resurfaced. The call to dispatch was delayed due to the hike and drive time it took for the reporting party to get to cell phone service near the entrance to Hyalite Canyon.The Sheriff’s Office, Hyalite Fire Department, AMR, Reach Air, Central Helicopters, and the Water rescue, SAR Posse, Alpine, Radio/Hams, and Hasty groups of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to the scene. While ground crews made their way to the scene on foot and ATVs, helicopters searched the creek from the air. Hiline Productions also responded with a drone to assist in the search. In addition to searching, Central Helicopters used a sling to carry equipment to search and rescue members at the falls.
The swift, near freezing water from the spring run-off, along with numerous terrain hazards including log-jams, made rescue efforts extremely dangerous. Specialized equipment and a series of rope riggings had to be used by rescuers.
Around 9:30 pm, rescuers were able to recover the girl, identified as Juliana Currie, from a log-jam right below the falls.
Sheriff Gootkin stated that our hearts ache for the family. Despite the massive rescue effort and the skills of the search and rescue volunteeers sometimes things don’t turn out like we hoped they would. He would like to remind everyone that running water, even small creeks, streams, and ditches, can become extremely dangerous during the spring run-off. The water can be deceivingly swift, cold, and murky. #####