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Gallatin County SAR makes series of winter rescues over the weekend

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Volunteers from Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue were dispatched to locate a pair of lost snowmobilers in the Sage Basin area on Jan. 13. PHOTO COURTESY OF GALLATIN COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Local search and rescue crews rescued four snowmobilers and a backcountry skier in three separate responses Jan. 13-15.

By Julia Barton DIGITAL PRODUCER

Gallatin County Search and Rescue responded to three emergency calls between Friday, Jan. 13 and Sunday, Jan. 15, rescuing five winter recreationalists, according to a series of press releases from the Sheriff’s Office. 

The first call of the weekend involved a pair of snowmobilers near the Sage Basin area south of Big Sky around 6:45 p.m. on Friday. The riders recognized they had become lost and requested SAR assistance in getting out of the backcountry safely. The pair was uninjured, warm and had fully operational snowmobiles. 

GCSSAR volunteers met the snowmobilers at 9:30 p.m. and safely led them back to the Sage Creek Trailhead. In a press release, Sheriff Dan Springer recognized the importance of the lost riders asking for assistance and carrying appropriate winter emergency safety equipment on their adventure. 

Another rescue took place on Saturday evening after Gallatin County Dispatch received a call for an injured backcountry skier at Lick Creek in Hyalite Canyon. The injured skier was with a group of friends and suffered shoulder and leg injuries after a fall. One of the skier’s friends was able to reach a high point and called for help.

Rescuers from GCSSAR and the Hyalite Fire Department set out on skis and snowmobiles and located the injured skier on a forest service road. After a medical evaluation, the skier was brought back to the trailhead on a snowmobile to awaiting Hyalite Fire crews. 

Sunday saw another snowmobiler pair in need of rescue on the Big Sky Trail near West Yellowstone. The riders called 911 around 5 p.m. while attempting to walk out of the backcountry after both of their snowmobiles had become stuck. 

The riders were cold and tired when SAR volunteers located them, but had no other injuries. Rescuers were able to free one of the stuck snowmobiles and escort the riders back to West Yellowstone. The press release commended the riders for carrying a reliable backcountry communication device. 

The Sheriff’s Office did not release the identities of any of the received recreationalists nor any further details about their injuries.

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