1 injured, 2 rescued in separate snowmobile crashes in East Idaho
A snowmobiler sustained serious injuries in a crash in Franklin County last Tuesday, while two snowmobilers became stranded on Thursday after their sled fell through the ice on Island Park Reservoir.
The first incident occurred at approximately 1:15 p.m. Tuesday at Egan Basin in Franklin County.
According to a report from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Lanell Thomas had been maneuvering over some moguls near the Pig Chutes area of Egan Basin when he landed extremely hard.
The landing threw Thomas into the handlebars hard enough to bend them.
Todd Flippence, who was riding with Thomas, called for help.
Franklin County Search and Rescue responded to the scene and stabilized Thomas, who suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung. Search and rescue personnel transported Thomas to an air ambulance that airlifted him to McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah.
Thomas’ condition is currently not known.
In the second incident, which occurred at approximately 9 p.m. Thursday, two snowmobilers became stranded after the ice they were riding their snowmobile over collapsed and sank their sled into Island Park Reservoir.
A 32-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman from Idaho Falls had been riding their snowmobile from their cabin near Shotgun to Lakeside Lodge when the crash occurred.
As the couple rode along the south shoreline of the Island Park Reservoir, the ice broke underneath them, sinking their sled.
“The two individuals made it to the bank and were able to call the sheriff’s office for help” Fremont Search and Rescue secretary Eric Thomas said.
Fremont Search and Rescue and Fremont County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the scene.
“One search member made it within 25 yards of the stranded individuals, but he was unable to go any further due to the danger of the snow under his sled sliding into the reservoir,” Thomas said. “The two subjects were instructed to walk east along the trees staying back from the bank.”
Rescuers made it to the stranded couple. They were later taken back to base where they were examined and released by Island Park EMS.
A search and rescue team member gave the couple a ride back to their cabin. Their names have not been released.
Thomas warned that the Island Park Reservoir is not stable enough for snowmobiles.
“The warm weather we received this last week has made the ice very thin in places,” he said. “The new snow we received over the last couple of days has hidden the slush sitting on top of ice.”
Thomas said that it won’t be stable until the region receives several days of subfreezing temperatures.
“Those temperatures may not happen this season,” he said.
Thomas also warned that anybody who tries to snowmobile on the thin ice may wind up in the freezing reservoir water.
“After spending a few minutes in the water and the cold air temperature — once you get out (the) deadly combination can quickly lead to hypothermia,” he said. “Another danger is the windblown cornices that have formed on the west and south banks in the reservoir and rivers.”
Necia P. Seamons of the Preston Citizen and Lisa Dayley Smith of the Rexburg Standard Journal contributed to this story.