Back Country Rescue

(Gallatin County, Mont.)  On Thursday January 10, 2019 at 5:38 p.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch center received a 911 call reporting one lost and stuck snowmobiler. Three males were snowmobiling in an extreme backcountry area and became separated.  Two riders made it out to a safe location, and contacted 911 to report their friend missing and presumed stuck.  They were able to provide an approximate GPS location for the last known location of their friend.  They also reported that their friend had no overnight survival gear or any type of light source.

The lost snowmobiler, a 29 year-old male from Minnesota, was last reported in the Red Canyon area, 16 miles northwest of the Town of West Yellowstone. The GPS location showed the terrain to be very steep and heavily wooded.

Personnel from the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone responded.  A group of eight rescue personnel responded on snowmobiles to the GPS location provided.

Rescuers made verbal contact with the man approximately four hours after the initial call.  Due to the hazardous terrain and deep snow conditions, the rescue teams needed another hour to reach him.  The male was uninjured and rescue personnel were able to load him on one of their snowmobiles and ride him back out to safety.  That ride back out took rescue personnel another two hours.  His snowmobile is still on the mountain.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers to be careful when recreating off trail and to know your limitations.  A fun adventure into the amazing backcountry areas can quickly turn into an emergency situation.  Always remember to ride with a partner, stay with your partner, carry a reliable means of communication in case of an emergency, and be prepared to survive the night if needed.

New York Woman injured in Snowmobile Crash

(West Yellowstone, Mont.) Tuesday at 10:02 a.m., Yellowstone National Park received a 911 call reporting a snowmobile crash in the Park near Riverside Drive about 6 miles East of West Yellowstone.  The crash caused both the snowmobile and rider to end up in the Madison River.  Yellowstone Rangers requested mutual aid from Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone.  Hebgen Basin Fire Department also responded to assist with the rescue.

When rescuers arrived on scene the injured snowmobiler, a 22-year-old female from Garrison New York, had been removed from the water however was extremely cold and suffering from an apparent broken femur. Rescuers immediately requested response from an Air Idaho Helicopter, which landed at the scene and ultimately transported the female to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind people that snowmobiling on the trail systems can be challenging. Changing trail conditions along with other traffic can create un-foreseen hazards. Inexperienced riders are advised to use extra caution to avoid a bad experience.  Photo Courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office and YNP

Oregon Woman Injured in Snowmobile Crash near West Yellowstone

(Gallatin County, Mont.)  On Thursday January 3, 2019 at 11:04 am., the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch Center received a 911 call reporting a snowmobile crash on the Horse Butte Trail 8 miles northwest of West Yellowstone. The injured party, a 46-year-old female from Oregon, had sustained a head injury when the snowmobile she was driving crashed into the back of the snowmobile in front of her.

Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, Forest Service Law Enforcement and Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District responded.

Rescuers met the injured party at the scene of the crash approximately 40 minutes after the initial call for help.  She was traveling on a groomed snowmobile trail when she crashed into the back of the snowmobile in front of her that was attempting to make a left turn.  After an initial assessment of her injuries, rescue personnel placed her inside a specialized rescue sled for transport to an awaiting ambulance.  The patient was transported to Big Sky Medical Center for further evaluation and treatment.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers to be careful when recreating in the backcountry, even when on a groomed trail.  Changing terrain and trail conditions along with unexpected actions of those you are riding with, can sometimes bring unexpected adventure to a fun day of snowmobiling.  Always remember to ride with a partner and carry a reliable means of communication in case of an emergency.

Photo courtesy of the Forest Service.

Minnesota Man Injured in Snowmobile Crash

(West Yellowstone, Mont.)

Wednesday at 4:47 p.m., West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch received a 911 call reporting a snowmobiler with a dislocated hip sustained in a snowmobile crash. The 911 coordinates retrieved from the call indicated that the snowmobilers were located approximately 7 miles west of West Yellowstone.

Rescuers from the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, U.S. Forest Service and Hebgen Basin Fire Department responded.

A short while later Gallatin County Dispatch received a message from a SOS device monitoring agency reporting that the injured snowmobiler, a 20-year-old male from Minnesota, “wasn’t doing well.”

Rescuers located the injured snowmobiler, in a steep off-trail area, which was difficult to reach with the heavy rescue sled. Rescuers were able to package the patient onto a backboard, which they used to transport him by hand to the rescue sled. Rescuers then carefully transported the injured snowmobiler over the approximately four miles of extremely rough trail to the rendezvous point with a waiting Hebgen Basin Fire Department Ambulance.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind people snowmobiling the backcountry to be use caution in when riding off trail. The low snow amounts and lack of a hard base can make riding off trail treacherous.

Woman Rescued from Ousel Falls Trail

(Big Sky, Mont.) Tuesday afternoon at 3:00 Sheriff’s Search and Rescue at Big Sky was dispatch to a 72 year old woman hiking on Ousel Falls Trail that had fallen was and unconscious.

Rescuers including SAR, a Sheriff’s Deputy and Big Sky Fire Dept. Medics hiked the trail and located her at the end at the rest area. She was conscious but cold and not feeling well. She was medically checked and provided items to help warm her up before being transported to a awaiting ambulance at the trail head then transported to Big Sky Medical Center.

Sheriff Gootkin wants to remind everyone to be prepared and equipped for the extreme environment while recreating in the outdoors this winter. Photo courtesty of the Sheriff’s Office.