SAR teams rescue stranded snowmobilers in Snowy Range

Rescuers toughed out bad weather Wednesday to reach four stranded snowmobilers in the backcountry of the Snowy Range and escort them to safety. The exhausting search and rescue operation began Sunday after the group of four South Dakota men failed to return on Saturday.

On Christmas Day, a helicopter spotted the party northeast of Lookout Mountain near the Rock Creek trail about six miles south of Arlington. The flight crew dropped supplies, but Carbon County Sheriff Archie Roybal said weather conditions prevented an airlift.

The rescue operation was still underway Wednesday afternoon when Roybal said ground crews had reached the party shortly before noon.

Before becoming stranded, the snowmobilers were last seen at the Quealey Warming Hut area in Carbon County. They began their adventure earlier in the day above Centennial at the Green Rock parking area. The men – ranging in ages from 16 to 53 – apparently did not tell anyone where they were headed, complicating the search.

Sheriff Roybal said Thursday morning that the missing party was escorted to their vehicle on the Albany County side of the mountain Wednesday afternoon.

Carbon County Search and Rescue played an assist role in the operation until Wednesday morning when it became more apparent that the men were on the west side of the Snowy Range.

The Hilo Helicopter, based out of Cheyenne, dropped off supplies to the party around 4 p.m. Christmas Day and marked the GPS coordinates. Ground crews used the GPS coordinates to reach the party as snow and colder temperatures descended on the region yesterday.

Sheriff Roybal thanked the search and rescue teams on both sides of the Snowy Range who worked through Christmas to find the missing men and escort them to safety. The sheriff said more details would be available this week.


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