BOZEMAN, Mont. - Two Bozeman snowmobilers are safe after spending the night in the forest north of town.
Gallatin County Search and Rescue learned of the missing men around 2p.m. Sunday. A friend of the snowmobilers was expecting them to return by Sunday night. Officials found their car off of Bridger Canyon Rd. near the Olson Creek trail, and began their search in that area.
The men had become stuck after their snowmobiles had mechanical problems. Matt Boxmeyer with the Gallatin County Sheriff's Department tells NBC Montana search crews were on scene looking for the pair well after midnight.
"We searched until about 3a.m. until the conditions got too bad for us to continue, obviously right now avalanche conditions are such, we didn't want to put our crew into undue risk," said Boxmeyer.
Boxmeyer tells us rescuers returned to the trailhead around 7a.m. on Monday. This time they called in help from the air.
"We called in a helicopter, the helicopter had to turn around due to the severe winds," said Boxmeyer.
When that did not work, ground crews headed back in following a lead from the night before.
"Search and Rescue crews responded to an area where they had seen some lights the previous evening. They were unable to get where those lights were at. So first thing when we launched Search and Rescue this morning, they went back to that location based on GPS coordinates of last night," said Boxmeyer.
Searchers located the two men Monday morning just before 11a.m. approximately four miles off of Bridger Canyon Road. Crews were able to bring the two down the mountain on snowmobiles.
Matt Boxmeyer with the Gallatin County Sheriff's office explained the two were in fairly good spirits after the rescue. We know they are brothers in their 30's from the Bozeman area.
We are told the two men survived the night by digging a shelter under a tree and covering themselves with branches to shield them from the wind.
"They were able to start fires and keep warm enough where they didn't get hypothermia or frostbite," said Boxmeyer.
The Gallatin County Sheriff's Department wants to remind people to keep an eye on the avalanche conditions. They say it is also a good idea to bring someone with you, and make sure you have the essentials to last you through the night when you are recreating in the back country.
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