Lost Woman, Mountain Biker Found in Separate Gallatin County Incidents
Always carry a means of communication. That’s the advice from Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin after the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue members had a busy day on Tuesday.
The first call came in at around 6:56 p.m. when a man called sheriff’s deputies concerned about his 56-year-old mother, according to a news release from the sheriff’s department. She had left home to go to the grocery store several hours earlier and had not returned. When he called her she did not know where she was and seemed confused.
Deputies and dispatch were able to narrow down the woman’s location by having her call 911 from her cell phone. Deputies went to the area and were able to find her. She had left her vehicle and attempted to walk through an extremely swampy and wet area south of Reese Creek Road. She had sunk into the mud to a point she could no longer move and was in the middle of thick brush and trees and could not be seen until deputies walked within yards of her. However, the mud was so deep that deputies could not get her out. She was suffering from being too cold as she was sitting in water as well as being stuck in mud. The weather also turned for the worse when a rain and lightning storm moved into the area.
Search and rescue members battled thigh deep mud to get to the woman. They used ropes, other equipment and plenty of manpower to get the woman out safely. She was transferred to a waiting AMR ambulance for transport to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.
Minutes later, at around 9:52 p.m., a 45-year-old male called for help. He was riding his mountain bike on the Bear Canyon Loop when he became lost. By tracking his cell phone, responders were able to locate the man. He was on a trail about three miles southwest of the closed gate on Goose Creek Road off of Trail Creek Road. Radio operators relayed messages between the man via text messaging and responding rescuers via radio. Rescuers initially travelled towards the man’s location with vehicles. They had to repeatedly stop to clear deadfall from their path. Later, mud and terrain made rescuers switch to travelling by foot.
The lost man carried a whistle with him that aided rescuers in locating him. Rescuers made contact with the man at around 1:05 a.m. He was escorted back to their waiting vehicles. They helped warm him up and gave him a ride out of the area. Rescuers turned the man over to a waiting deputy for transport back to his car at the Bear Canyon Trailhead.
The lost persons’ cell phones in these two cases provided vital location information that helped lead to their successful rescues, according to Gootkin.
“Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue is a completely volunteer group that works under a sworn deputy on search and rescue missions. The members are experts in a variety of disciplines related to search and rescue. Members from the various Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Divisions can respond to incidents under water to the highest remote alpine locations regardless of weather conditions, time of day, or season of the year,” the news release states.