Crash Victim Identified 

Gallatin County, Mont.) On August 12, 2016, at approximately 9:30 A.M., Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Coroners were called to a two-vehicle fatality crash at the intersection of Baxter Lane and Monforton School Road; a sedan and dump truck were involved. The driver of the sedan, 57-year-old Christine Fogerty of Missoula, Montana, succumbed to blunt force injuries and passed away on scene. The passenger of the sedan was flown from the scene by Reach Air Ambulance.  
 The accident is being investigated by Montana Highway Patrol.

Horse Wreck Rescue


(Bozeman, Mont.) Search and Rescue voulunteers responded to the area of the Eagle Rock Preserve south east of Bozeman Thrusday.  A 60 year old Bozeman woman was involved in a horseback wreck and suffered injuries to her back and shoulder.  Rescuers from Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Ft Ellis Fire Dept. and AMR ambulance were able to drive rescue vehicles to her location but not the ambulance.  She was packaged and placed on a backcountry recovery liter and driven a short and painful distance to the ambulance.  Despite being close to town the access and removal from the hills took over an hour.  Photo courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office

Eaglerock 8-2016


Hebgen Lake Rescue

On August 11, 2016 at 7:00 p.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department dispatch center received a 911 call regarding a boat which had become stuck on a sand bar in Hebgen Lake near Madison Arm Campground.  The boat was occupied by six adults on a family vacation.  The boaters were from Utah, California, and Arizona and ranged in age from 25 to 70.  They were unable to get their boat free of the sand bar and were too far from shore to safely get back to dry land.

Personnel from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Forest Service Law Enforcement responded using the Sheriff’s patrol/rescue boat.  Rescue personnel had a difficult time getting to the boaters due to the shallow water they were in.  Once the boaters were reached, an effort was made to dislodge the boat but was unsuccessful.  After careful maneuvering, the six individuals were loaded onto the rescue boat and transported safely to shore.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like remind visitors to our area to learn the terrain in which they are recreating prior to entering that area.  The Forest Service office is always happy to provide area maps and discuss terrain with all who stop in.  A boat traveling at a relatively high speed that hits a sand bar unexpectedly has the potential to cause serious injuries to the occupants.  Please enjoy all of the wonderful areas in our county, including our lakes and rivers; but be safe and carry all the necessary gear you may need in case of an emergency.

Injured Hiker Rescued in Beehive Basin

img_0248-10.jpg(Big Sky, Mont.) Today at about 2:30 Sheriff’s Search and Rescue at Big Sky were dispatched to Beehive Basin for an injured hiker.  The 60 year old female hiker from central California suffered a broken or dislocated ankle.  She was hiking with her husband close to the top of the trail when she slipped.  Big Sky SAR volunteers found the couple 3.2 miles from the trail head and used a special wheeled rescue liter to transport her a waiting Big Sky Fire Department ambulance.

Sheriff Gootkin said, “This was a relatively simple incident yet SAR responders spend a total of 4 hours before she was in an ambulance.  Injuries in the back country can be serious.  Hikers, skiers, hunters and the like need to be prepared for accidents.  Water, clothing, food, first aid supplies and a way to summon help are important items to have with you even on a nice short jaunt on a nice day.”

Rescued Climber on Granite Peak


Video is available on

(Park County, Mont.) Today at about 11:00 Gallatin County Sheriffs Office received a request for assistance from the Park County Sheriff for a technical rescue on Granite Peak, the tallest peak in Montana.  Gallatin County sent a SAR Deputy Sheriff, 4 technical rescue volunteers from Sheriff’s Search and Rescue and a helicopter and pilot from Central Helicopters.  The following is the press release from the Park County Sheriff’s Office;

On August 8, 2016 at about 0945 hours, PCSO received a report of a SPOT Emergency Beacon activation in the area of Sky Top Lakes. A Park County Deputy-Medic was dispatched to the location by helicopter. During this SAR response, at about 1100 hours, PCSO received a report of a climber who had fallen near the summit of Granite Peak. These two incidents were plotted to be within about 1 ½ miles of each other. We were unsure if these were two separate incidents or the same one.  Park County requested the assistance of a high angle rescue team from Gallatin County to respond in a second helicopter to the Granite Peak area. As this team was responding, PCSO received an update that the first incident was a separate incident. The Deputy-Medic transported a 71 YOA male with a suspected cardiac event from the area of Sky Top Lakes to Cooke City where they were met by an ambulance to transport the patient to the hospital.  The Deputy-Medic then responded back to the Granite Peak area by helicopter to tie in with the high angle rescue team. The second rescue is still underway. Additional information will be released when it becomes available.

Update: A 19 YOA male, who had fallen while climbing, was rescued from Granite Peak by a Gallatin County High Angle Rescue Team and flown by helicopter to a separate landing zone near Sky Top Lakes. A medical helicopter from Bozeman then landed to provide medical treatment. The patient is currently being transported by medical helicopter to a hospital in Billings. The extent of his injuries are unknown at this time.  The patient from the first SAR mission was transported byground ambulance to a hospital in Cody, Wyoming.

More information will be available once rescue teams have returned from the backcountry and have been debriefed.

Sheriff Scott Hamilton

Media is courtesy of Rocky Mountain Rotors and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and available at




Marathon Night for Search and Rescue Volunteers


(Gallatin County, Mont.)  It started at 8:00 P.M. Saturday night.  A Bozeman father and son camping at Deer Lake, north of Big Sky, sent an emergency message using a satellite beacon.  The father had an altered level of consciousness, was nauseous and unable to keep fluids down.   Two volunteers, followed by five additional members from the Big Sky division of Sheriff’s Search and Rescue hiked the seven or so miles into the lake.  They rendered some aid and the camper was starting to feel better but not well enough to transport.  The rescuers settled down for the night to see if his condition improved over night.

An hour later at about 9:00 P.M. Search and Rescue volunteers from the valley division were dispatched to Bridger Ridge near Mount Baldy.  A father, mother and daughter from Spokane had attempted to hike from Fairy Lake to the M on the ridge trail.  That hike is arduous under good conditions but the party was caught in the storms that rolled through the valley late Saturday.  All three were exhausted and having knee trouble but the mother was also hypothermic and sick, unable to keep fluids down.  A crew of four rescuers, described by the hikers later as gracious, kind and made of granite, hiked the ridge from the M trail head with gear to hydrate, dry out and warm the hikers.  After determining that they were in no condition to walk out in the dark, rescuers moved them to a more sheltered location and rendered aid.  Several attempts were made to reach the area by helicopter but were thwarted because of the lack of suitable landing zones and darkness.    Again the group settled in for a long night to see what conditions presented themselves in the daylight.

Within 45 minutes, at 9:43 P.M., the third distress call was dispatched.  A group of three motorcyclists were riding in the Bear Canyon area.  Two of the cycles had broken down after the rain storm had changed the trail conditions significantly.  One person in the party had made his way out to the Bear Canyon Trail Head but was certain the other two, not knowing the area, would not be able to extricate themselves.  Additionally, they had limited gear.  Search and Rescue ATV volunteers and a USFS Ranger were sent to the area to gather them up.

A little over an hour later the fourth call came in, a frantic report of an ATV crash with someone bleeding badly 9 miles up the Jackson Creek Trail east of Bozeman.  Search and Rescue resources were diverted from Bear Canyon and the Reach Medical Helicopter diverted from Bridger Ridge to try and locate the crash patient.  Bridger Canyon Fire Fighters were the first to locate the patient who had been loaded in a pickup and was being driven down the track.  He was transferred to AMR Ambulance and then driven several miles to the closest landing zone where he was flown by Reach medical helicopter.  45 minutes from the time of the 911 call he was being flown to Billings with a serious head injury.

At 5:00 A.M. rescuers at Deer Lake found that their patient had deteriorated.  He was having seizures and becoming combative.  They requested a medical helicopter evacuation.   Air Idaho Rescue in West Yellowstone was dispatched but they were foiled by a line of thunder storms that had materialized.  It wasn’t until after 8:30, 12 and 1/2 hours after being notified, that the father made it to the hospital being flown by Reach Medical Helicopter.

At 6:30 A.M. weather conditions were favorable for a Mountain Rescue Helicopter from Rocky Mountain Rotors to reach the hikers and rescuers on Bridger Ridge.  They were all successfully flown off the mountain to the Search and Rescue Base at the Fair Grounds.  Stiff , sore, wet and cold, but appreciative.

Sheriff Brian Gootkin stated, “Backcountry recreation here is no joke.  You can find yourself in a bad way in a big hurry.  This is Montana, you need to be prepared for changing conditions with extra clothing, food and water.  Only half of the people we worked with last night had a means to communicate an emergency.  The other half had to travel a significant distance before they could let us know there was a problem.  Time can be the difference between life and death when a good day goes bad.”  We are so fortunate to have the highly skilled volunteers with Search and Rescue here.  As good as the volunteers are, you may be 12 or more hours from getting to a hospital.

Photo courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office

bridger ridge hikers 8-2016

Fort Ellis Fire Department Annual Burger Feed

PATCH4The Fort Ellis Fire Department will hold its annual burger feed on Thursday, August 11, 5:00 – 7:00 PM at the Fort Ellis Fire Station, 3725 Bozeman Trail Road.  Burgers and all the fixings will be supplied along with fire engine rides for kids of all ages.  Sign up for the new Gallatin County Mass Notification System.  This new system will allow residents to sign up for the service and to choose how to be notified in case of an emergency, such as an imminent wildland fire.  In addition to landline phones, cell phones (voice or text), work numbers, emails or a smart phone application can be used.  Residents can enter special needs, such as hearing impairment or mobility issues or if dogs, cats, or horses need to be evacuated.