Three Minnesota snowmobilers were found uninjured in the Bighorns on Saturday after a rescue operation that lasted more than 12 hours and involved four search teams from three different counties.
Dave Matejeck, 33 years old, Will Rohwer, 28, and Jeremey Oarth, 30, all of Minnesota descended into Garland Gulch Friday night.
At around 6 pm the Sheridan County Sheriff's Office was notified that a SPOT personal locator beacon had been activated near the West Pass/Dry Fork area in Sheridan County. SPOT is a brand of satellite-based locator that will give a person's latitude and longitude for the purpose of rescue operation. SCSO Lt. Mark Conrad says from there it was more of a rescue than a search.
Along with Sheridan County Search and Rescue, Big Horn County North and South teams, Johnson County's search team, and Bear Lodge's search team also responded.
A second GPS location had come in so search personnel believed that the three were headed downstream. Not knowing if anyone was hurt or if a machine was broken down, a rescue team of six made up of four from Sheridan County and two from Bear Lodge followed tracks down into the gulch at around 5:15 am.
While the team from the top made their way down, teams from the bottom, at around 8 am, heard snowmobiles and they made their way up to find the three in the drainage.
Conrad says that the three were cold and tired but didn't require medical attention. He added that they were experienced snowmobilers who had rode in the area before, and when they ended up where they did the only option they had was to ride the drainage out, it just took them about 14 hours. He credited them in making a fire and resting before attempting to ride out and for being prepared in having the GPS locator device.