The following is a news release from the Gallatin County Sheriff's office.
On Saturday April 14, 2012, at 6:01 pm, a snowmobile rental company in West Yellowstone reported that they rented a snowmobile to a man that was due back at 5:00 pm but had not returned. The caller said that he was riding alone and believed to be in the Two Top area.
Personnel from the West Yellowstone division of Sheriff?s Search and Rescue, the U.S. Forest Service and the West Yellowstone Police Department conducted the search.
Sheriff?s Office Search managers were concerned because the rider was unfamiliar with the area, did not have any survival gear, and the temperatures were going to dip to 20 degrees. There was a lot of area to cover and not much daylight left.
A search team on snowmobiles was quickly deployed along with a helicopter from Summit Air Ambulance based in Bozeman.
At 8:16 pm, the overdue snowmobiler was located by personnel in the helicopter. The search team on the ground had found the snowmobiler?s footprints and was following the tracks when the helicopter team found him. The team transported the man to the highway where he was picked up another team from Gallatin County Search and Rescue.
The 30 year old male had recently moved to Chicago, Illinois, from the Ukraine. He got into trouble when he left the snowmobile trail and went down a steep incline that he could not get back up. He rode in the trees trying to find a way out but repeatedly got stuck. He eventually abandoned his snowmobile and struck out on foot. He walked approximately eight miles before searchers found him. He was not injured and very appreciative of the search efforts.
Sheriff Gootkin reminds backcountry users to not travel alone, have a form of communication, and be prepared for emergencies.