Snowmobilers rescued from the Flat Tops | PostIndependent.com

Snowmobilers rescued from the Flat Tops

Ryan Summerlin
rsummerlin@postindependent.com

Garfield County Search and Rescue retrieved three snowmobilers Monday after were reported missing in the Flat Tops the day before.

The three snowmobilers, all of them around age 25 and at least one an area resident, were reported missing to Garfield County Sheriff’s Office at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday, said Walt Stowe, Garfield sheriff’s public information officer.

The three were last seen at about 10 a.m. Sunday after they headed up West Elk trail.

First responders from Garfield County Search and Rescue hit the trail that night, but had to call off the search at around 2:30 a.m. Monday.

The search and rescue team relaunched its efforts at about 8 a.m. Monday, starting again at the West Elk trailhead near New Castle, said Stowe.

The effort included a ground search and assistance from an Air National Guard helicopter from Eagle, which finally spotted the snowmobilers at about 11:15 a.m., said Stowe.

When rescuers reached the trio, they were standing around a fire, and though they had spent the night outdoors, they were all in good condition, said Stowe.

Relatives of one of the men told the sheriff’s office that they had a limited supply of food, he said.

Two of the three snowmobiles had broken down. Two of the young men took the helicopter out while the third came off trail with search and rescue.

Mesa County Search and Rescue also sent three communications volunteers and nine snowmobile volunteers to the search, but the helicopter found the men before the reinforcements arrived, said Stowe.


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