2018-3-15 Snowmobiler drove into the Island Park Reservoir
About 9 PM Thursday night, Fremont County Search & Rescue (FCSAR) was dispatched to Buttermilk Loop Rd. North of Lakeside Lodge at a deputy’s request. A 32-year-old male and a 24-year-old female from Idaho Falls were riding a snowmobile from a cabin near Shotgun to Lakeside Lodge. As they were riding along the south shoreline of Island Park Reservoir inlet, the ice broke and their sled sank. The two individuals made it to the bank and were able to call the Sheriff’s Office for help. Two FCSAR members and two Fremont County deputies responded to the bank east of their location and worked their way west. There were cornices hanging over the south bank, and searchers witnessed several give way during this rescue. A second search team was sent in to assist the first team. They were instructed not to ride snowmobiles on the beach. One search member made it within 25 yards of the stranded individuals, but he was unable to go any further due to the danger of the snow under his sled sliding into the reservoir. The two subjects were instructed to walk east along the trees staying back from the bank. They met up with team two and were shuttled back to base where Island Park EMS assessed them. The individuals refused transport, and a search member gave them a ride back to the cabin. Island Park Reservoir IS NOT SAFE for snowmobile travel. The warm weather we received this last week has made the ice very thin in places. The new snow we received over the last couple of days has hidden the slush sitting on top of the ice. Until we get a good week of sub-freezing temperatures, the reservoir will not be safe for snowmobiles. Those temperatures may not happen this season. After spending a few minutes in the water and the cold air temperature once you get out are a deadly combination that can quickly lead to hypothermia. Another danger is the wind-blown cornices that have formed on the West and South banks of the reservoir and rivers. Give ample space when riding, skiing, snowshoeing, or even walking along the banks. Make sure you are over solid ground and not on one of these cornices that can give way and plummet you into the water below.
2018-3-20 Snowmobiler Falls as Cornice breaks in the Centennial Range.
Around 4:00 p.m. Tuesday evening, Fremont County Sheriff's Deputies, Island Park Ambulance, and Fremont County Search and Rescue (FCSAR) responded to a man who fell when a cornice sluffed off between Mount Jefferson and Sawtelle Peak in the Centennial Range west of Island Park. A male snowmobiler walked out on a cornice when it broke and he shot over a 60' cliff and then off another 100’ cliff, riding the cornice approximately 400' down from the ridge where he was standing. His riding party scanned the debris field and spotted him sitting on the snow waving his arms. They rode around to the bottom where he was. He appeared to be having breathing difficulties and was coughing up blood. Air Idaho Rescue from West Yellowstone, MT arrived on scene but was unable to land near the victim. The pilot chose a safe landing zone about 1/4 mile away. The subject's riding party was able to transport him to the helicopter, and he was med-evacuated to Bozeman. FCSAR assisted the party bringing one of their sleds with broken handle bars down to Shotgun and loaded it in a pickup. They helped the rest of the party bring the subject's snowmobile back from the scene. Both sleds ended up at Base Camp, Stamp Meadows parking lot. The extent of the individual's injuries was not known at the time of the press release.
2018-3-25 Two Injury Accidents involving trees on Sawtelle Peak
Sunday afternoon around 3:15 PM, Fremont County Search & Rescue (FCSAR) responded to assist Island Park Ambulance and Fremont County Deputies retrieve an injured snowmobiler from the east side of Sawtelle peak. The 41 year-old male from Garettson, SD was riding with the group of snowmobilers when he hit a tree. His major complaint was hip and back pain. A member of his party met the rescuers on the Sawtelle Peak Road and led them to the injured individual. Rescuers used a toboggan to move him from the accident scene to the road. He was transferred to Island Park Ambulance's med-sled, and EMTs transported him to base camp. They loaded him into the ambulance and delivered him to Air Idaho’s Helicopter waiting at Elk Creek’s helipad. He was air evacuated to the hospital, and the extent of his injuries was unknown at the time of the press release.
At the same time the FCSAR Unit was paged for the above rescue, Fremont County sheriff’s dispatch informed the commander of another snowmobiler hitting a tree about 1 mile North East of the 1st accident on Sawtelle Peak. FCSAR Commander, Justin Liebert, established contact via cell phone with the 2nd subject and inquired about his status. He stated he was all right, had built a snow cave, and could wait until the other rescue was over. The 22 year-old male from Rigby, ID was riding with 2 friends when he hit a tree, damaging the A-arm on his snowmobile. Search and Rescue reached him at 6:30 PM and realized his friends had abandoned him. He was concerned he might have a concussion. The rescuers spent the next 3 ½ hours navigating a safe route down off of the mountain. They arrived back to base camp shortly after 10:00 PM. Island Park EMTs assessed the individual, and he was transported by private vehicle to the hospital.