SPOT user, Tim Angus was prepared with SPOT. He sent us his detailed experience about how he got injured snowmobiling and how SPOT initiated his rescue in the Ruby Mountains.
“I was snowmobiling in the Ruby Mountains East of Elko, Nevada. The day was great and the snow was a little bit soft, but a lot of fun. We sled all morning and my friend’s sled was not working well, so we went back to the trucks to change it out for my back up sled. When we returned from the trucks, I headed up the mountain and I was about 10 meters from the top. When I lost control and my sled moved off the track and I became bogged down. The slope was between 60 and 65 degrees, and I was about 1,200 feet at the top of this snow wall. We worked for about 30 minutes to dig out my sled out and with the help of my friend Daniel I remounted my sled.
I needed help mounting my sled because I am a paraplegic. So to say the least I would not have been able to get out of there without the help from my friend. When he put my feet back on my sled, I told him to leave both feet on one side so I would be able control the sled, and he said OK!!!
I took off and headed down the hill. With the steepness of the hill, I accelerated to about 40 MPH and at that point the sled bucked me off. When I hit the snow my right leg post holed up to my thigh. I heard and felt the snap of my femur. When I tumbled to a stop, I was in extreme pain and still 1,100 to 1,200 feet at the top of the steep snow wall. To say the least, I was in deep trouble and my life was in jeopardy. My friend raced the 17 miles back to the trucks, pulled my trusty SPOT out and pushed the 911 button not knowing what would happen.
When my friend reached the trucks, EMS and the Sheriffs were already on scene. I laid there at the top of that very steep snow wall for about an hour making my peace with God. About two hours into my trauma I heard the wonderful sounds of a helicopter. When it appeared over me, I knew at that point I would be getting out of there.
Elko County Nevada, Division of Forestry, Fire Protection District, Spring Creek Station # 24 and Elko Ambulance took part in my rescue. SPOT had contacted them and my sister. I was told that the SPOT people were polite, professional and very adamant in getting me rescued. This was Elko County’s first SPOT rescue and they said it worked out well for them. Not to say it worked out great for me.
The rescue was not easy; it took Daniel Hasset, paramedic from Elko Ambulance near to an hour to climb to me, in a heroic effort, sinking up to his thighs with every step he took. When it was obvious that this was not going to work and the rescuers would have to do something different, these heroes flew up the snow slope with the helicopter and jumped out on to that very steep snow wall with the rescue litter in their arms. After attending to my medical needs and securing me in the rescue basket, these brave men walked me off the mountain to a waiting air ambulance helicopter.
The men are Captain Marcus, fire fighters, John Pitts, Matt House, Dustin Osborne, Mike Barry, and Daniel Hasset from Elko Ambulance and the helicopter pilot that flew the rescue whose name I don’t know.
These men are true heroes and if you asked them they would probably say they were just doing there job. Elko County is lucky to have these men working for them. I have seen this type of man in the Army, and in rescues that I have been involved in over the past 35 years. The definition of a hero is: somebody who commits an act of remarkable bravery or who has shown an admirable quality such as great courage or strength of character. Without these men going into avalanche danger high angle snow wall to rescue me, I would not have survived.
To say the least, without the coordinated work from SPOT and my rescuers, I would not be writing this letter.
Thank you SPOT, fire fighters, and unnamed helicopter pilot for saving my life.”