Search and rescue retieves stranded snowmobilers
March 13, 2013
Grand County Search and Rescue (GCSAR) completed two rescue missions during the weekend and retrieved a total of four individuals who had become stranded while snowmobiling.
The Grand County Search and Rescue team, aided by a Kiowa helicopter from the Army’s High Altitude Training Center in Eagle County, retrieved Stuart Spencer, 60, of Tabernash on Monday morning after he had become stranded in the Meadow Creek area while snowmobiling and was forced to spend the night.
Spencer was reported overdue by his wife at approximately 3:45 p.m. on Sunday.
A team of three search and rescue members were taken to the place Spencer was last seen by James Reed and Davis Howard, who had been snowmobiling with Spencer the previous day until he turned down an untracked gully that headed toward Mill Creek. The two decided where Spencer headed was unridable.
The team of five went into the field Sunday afternoon by snowmobile to where they considered the terrain unridable. They then continued to follow Spencer’s snowmobile track on foot. They left the field at 12:43 a.m. and chose to continue the search the next day.
A number of search and rescue members and non-members joined the search effort Monday morning as well as the Kiowa helicopter. Spencer was located by the helicopter’s pilot using the last location of the search crew from the night before.
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Spencer reported that he lodged his snowmobile in a tree and lit his snowmobile on fire to attempt to signal what he believed to be a plane searching for him. He attempted to keep another fire going but was unsuccessful. He ultimately huddled next to the hot remains of his snowmobile to stay warm through the night.
Blue Ridge rescue
Search and Rescue members completed a second mission Monday morning after receiving a report Sunday night of an overdue party of three snowmobilers.
Two of the snowmobilers were Grand Lake locals and the third was visiting from North Dakota. All three were riding powerful powder snowmobiles.
The three riders rode into the Blue Ridge area where they could not make it out and decided to spend the night.
The three were located by search and rescue members after a short search of the Blue Ridge area and were retrieved with their snow machines.
The three riders were each fined $500 by the U.S. Forest Service for riding snowmobiles in a wilderness area.