Utah Man, Son Rescued After Getting Lost In Montana Wilderness
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A father and son from Utah survived getting lost and separated in sub-zero temperatures in Montana. Officials said they were lucky they did not die.
According to a news release from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, the man and his 12-year-old son were hiking near Spanish Peaks on Tuesday.
Around 6:30 p.m., they got a call from the man’s wife saying the pair were overdue.
Sheriff Brian Gootkin said a deputy had to plow through snowdrifts to get to the end of the road where it was believed their vehicle would be parked.
After finding the vehicle around 8 p.m. about five miles from the end of the road, the deputy called in search and rescue volunteers on skis and snowmobiles.
By 10 p.m., searchers found the boy, who was suffering from hypothermia and was confused.
As the boy warmed up, the sheriff said, he was able to give deputies information about landmarks he and his father had seen and estimated times. That gave searchers an idea of where the man could be. By 12:15 a.m. Wednesday, searchers found him.
Both the man and his son were flown to the University of Utah Hospital Burn Center with frostbite injuries. The sheriff said the two were not equipped to deal with the conditions they found themselves in.
“Know your conditions. Check the weather forecast. Be prepared. Have warm clothes. Have shelter if necessary, fire, anything you need to start a fire. Be prepared for the worst. These people were not and I cannot tell you how lucky they are to be alive,” Sheriff Gootkin said.
Wayne Bassham, the commander of the Salt Lake County Search & Rescue Team, said the family followed an important hiking rule when they established a time to check in.
The wife’s actions may have been the difference between life and death.
“She called the deputies there in Montana, saying that we have somebody missing. That was the number one thing that they could have done that probably saved both their lives,” Bassham said.
Bassham said hikers should always carry warm layers, water, and food. He said if a group gets lost, they should never split up.
“Stay put. Stay together as a group. Use that body heat to keep you warm. Keep any provisions that you have, share them amongst yourselves. Do not go out tracking by yourself, saying, ‘I’ll go to the car and get help.’ That’s a bad idea,” Bassham said.
The father and son’s condition were not available.
KSL has been unable to reach the family.
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