Another snowmobiler is lucky to be alive following an avalanche in the Swift Creek area.
Star Valley Search & Rescue said they were called to the area Sunday at about 2:53 p.m. following a snowmobile caused avalanche. The rider was caught and slid through trees, over a cliff and into the creek. The rider was then buried with only the head sticking out.
The other riders in the group felt that it was safer for them to call for help than to attempt a rescue themselves. They were able to talk to the victim via radios and keep them conscious and alert. Search and Rescue said this was a good call due to the area. Once coordinates were established, SVSAR realized that short-haul was the best evacuation method. A team was positioned at the top looking down in, but reported that it was to risky to drop in. A second group attempted to reach the area from Dry Creek to stage with a snowmobulance. However, Teton County’s Search & Rescue assisted was able to assist with a rescue helicopter. They were able to reach the patient, dig them out, assess injuries and get them lifted to a waiting ambulance in Osmond. The victim sustained non-life threating injuries.
SVSAR said this was an extremely difficult area and without that helicopter, it would have made it almost impossible to get to the victim safely. S&R said things are sliding and active right now and until this snowpack settles they are asking everyone to please plan on the safer side. Current avalanche conditions can always be found at BridgerTetonAvalancheCenter.org.
This rescue occurred just three days after a similar incident in the Blind Bull area, where a snowmobiler was caught in an avalanche and buried up to her chin. The rider’s group was able to dig her out and keep her stabilized until Search & Rescue arrived. In a separate incident in late February, a Wisconsin man’s body was recovered by Search & Rescue after losing his life in an avalanche in the Poker Flats area.