A 55-year-old male involved in a snowmobiling accident early Thursday afternoon nearly died during the harrowing effort to rescue him.
Official reports are not completed yet, but much of the rescue played out over the police scanner, providing a glimpse into the challenges faced by everyone involved.
Search and rescue teams were dispatched to Cornice Ridge west of Tony Grove Lake at about 1:50 p.m. after a man called 911 and reported that his father had been involved in an accident.
At that time, the patient was having difficulty breathing, the son reported.
While search and rescue teams gathered equipment and made their way to the campground, dispatchers also contacted a medical flight crew to respond to the area.
The son provided GPS coordinates to rescuers, which dramatically cut down on the search time.
However, upon their arrival, they found it necessary to call in more specialized snowmobile teams and obtain some location-specific information about avalanche conditions before proceeding.
Two hours into rescue operations, the man’s son contacted 911 again and reported that his father’s condition was getting worse.
He was advised that help was on the way, but 20 minutes later he called again and informed dispatchers that his dad’s condition was “quickly deteriorating.”
A paramedic was with the men just 10 minutes later and he contacted rescuers and advised that their patient had experienced significant trauma to his sternum and had injuries to his legs.
During the next hour, rescue teams continued to make their way to the crash site as command teams tried to work out the best way to remove the man from the mountain and get him to a hospital.
At about 5:10 p.m. the man appeared to be going into shock and a few minutes later rescuers reported they were starting CPR.
As the man’s condition worsened, rescue teams nearly pleaded for the flight crew to assist, but based on the location of the patient and wind conditions in the area the helicopter was unable to provide assistance at that point.
At that point there was nothing to do but get the patient to the helicopter as quickly as possible; at 5:30 p.m. he was loaded and flown to Logan Regional Hospital, with CPR apparently in progress on the way.
Thirty minutes later, dispatchers once again reached out to search and rescue teams who were still on the mountain to tell them that the patient had a heartbeat and his blood pressure was improving. Emergency room doctors were in the process of evaluating him to get a better idea of his full condition.
Cache County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Doyle Peck said the man’s name is not being released at this time but he does believe he is a Cache Valley resident.