140 search and rescue team members training in an area where snowmobiler needed help

Feb 5, 2024, 6:11 PM | Updated: Feb 6, 2024, 8:07 am

HEBER CITY –– Dozens of search and rescue team members from across the state were at a training event in Wasatch County over the weekend when suddenly an emergency call came in.

You could say it was being in the right place at the right time.

The training was happening near Strawberry Reservoir on Friday and Saturday. The call came in just after 1 p.m. Saturday about an injured snowmobiler.

Kam Kohler, commander of the Wasatch County search and rescue team, believes they set a new response record when answering that call. In eight minutes, he had 20 team members there ready to help the injured snowmobiler.

“That’s a record, that’s a record,” Kohler told KSL TV. “That is super-fast, that is crazy fast.”

It happened during the Utah Sherriff’s Association’s two-day winter training event. A total of 140 search and rescue team members from 17 counties across the state were all on hand getting critical winter training.

“We were training in the same drainage as this snowmobile accident,” Kohler said. “It was fortuitous for this person to have all those search and rescue guys right there. We had 20 search and rescue team members in about eight minutes.”

And one of them just happened to be an emergency room doctor.

“Probably a lot more care than most of our calls,” Kohler said.

A quick response

Kohler said the 61-year-old victim was transported to the hospital for injuries. He also said the victim and the person who was with him, were very surprised at the quick response.

“Shocked, shocked. All of a sudden guys come out of the woodwork very very quickly,” Kohler said. “Where did all these guys come from? It’s a long way from here to there. On a normal call, it would be about 40 minutes.”

“It’s amazing,” said Wasatch County Sheriff Jared Rigby. “Pretty awesome that they were able to do that.”

Rigby said Wasatch County has been busy handling several calls this winter season. That’s why he said it’s so important to always prepare yourself for any adventure.

“It’s really important that they take the right equipment,” he said. “That they go in a group and not just by themselves. That there is a plan and they share that plan with other individuals that are not going to be on the mountain with them.”

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140 search and rescue team members training in an area where snowmobiler needed help