Missing snowmobilers found safe
Photo provided by Tip Top Search and Rescue member Aaron Koch.
by Sublette County Sheriff’s Office
January 3, 2017
1/3/17: Update to earlier media release:
The snowmobilers had become stuck in a steep drainage along the south fork of the Hoback, they were unable to ride out. They siphoned gasoline out of one snowmobile to keep a fire going in a large pit in the snow that they had covered with pine brows to stay warm. One of the snowmobilers made numerous attempts to ride his snowmachine out of the drainage but was unsuccessful on January 1st and 2nd. On the morning of January 3rd he was able to ride his snowmachine up the steep drainage and make it out where he located the Tip Top Search and Rescue members who were assigned to that area for their search.
No injuries were reported to any of the Tip Top Search and Rescue members or the volunteers from the community. Both snowmobilers were safe and had no injuries. Both snowmobilers refused medical treatment.
The positive outcome of this search relied heavily on the fact that these two snowmobilers were prepared when they went in to the backcountry. They had resources with them to sustain themselves for two nights in sub-zero temperatures. This provided them with the opportunity to survive in these conditions until they were rescued by Tip Top Search and Rescue.
PINEDALE, WYOMING – January 3, 2017, SCSO media release:
On (Sunday) January 1, 2017 at 8:30pm, the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) received a call of two overdue snowmobilers in the Horse Creek area. The reporting party advised that her husband and another friend went snowmobiling at 12:00pm on January 1, 2017 and were supposed to be going on a short ride. She advised that she has still not heard from them.
The Sublette County Sheriff’s Office contacted Tip Top Search and Rescue and a search of the area was started. Three teams of snowmobilers searched the Horse Creek drainage area throughout the night of January 1st and early morning hours of January 2nd.
On January 2nd, additional members from Tip Top Search and Rescue, as well as outside resources, began searching the area again. A fixed wing airplane from Civil Air Patrol, along with a helicopter from Teton Search and Rescue, came into the Horse Creek drainage to assist in the search. Teton County Search and Rescue provided additional manpower to assist in the search.
On January 2nd, Sublette County Emergency Management Coordinator, Jim Mitchell, reported 26 snowmobilers assisting in the search. Lincoln County Search and Rescue began searching the Lincoln County side of the drainage on the night of January 2nd.
Throughout the night of January 2nd and early morning hours of January 3rd, a team of snowmobilers continued to search the Horse Creek drainage.
On January 3rd at 7:00am, Search and Rescue operations began again. The outpouring of volunteers from the community was incredible. Tip Top Search and Rescue reminded everyone volunteering that they needed to be experienced riders with reliable equipment and to be equipped with self-rescue items, to include an avalanche beacon, probe, and shovel. Volunteers were to check in at the Incident Command Truck located at the Horse Creek parking lot.
On January 3rd at 8:45am, Tip Top Search and Rescue members located the missing snowmobilers. Initial reports are that both missing snowmobilers are safe.
The Sublette County Sheriff’s Office and Tip Top Search and Rescue wants to express great appreciation to all the volunteers in the community that came out to assist in this search.
For more information contact:
Undersheriff Lance Gehlhausen
Sublette County Sheriff’s Office
35 ½ Tyler Ave
PO Box 701
Pinedale, Wyoming 82941