By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Park County’s Search and Rescue Team is being credited with two rescues over the weekend that saw members save four people from harm — including a woman and her young child stranded on Buffalo Bill Reservoir.
According to officials, on Friday afternoon, the county’s communications center received a call for help regarding a 28-year-old woman and her 5-year-old child who were blown out onto the Buffalo Bill Reservoir by sudden high winds after kayaking near the shore.
The mother was on a kayak, towing her child on an inner tube. When the wind picked up, the kayak was blown away from shore and further into the reservoir.
Numerous emergency officials were dispatched to the scene. While they were en route, the kayak flipped and both the mother and child ended up in the water.
“The speed and teamwork of getting the boat on the water, assembling a team to go out (to include medical personnel), and launching the effort with everyone knowing exactly their role was both impressive and highly professional,” Park County Undersheriff Andy Varian said.
About one-half hour after arriving on scene, emergency personnel found the child in a personal flotation device, conscious and alert. She was lifted into a boat and wrapped in blankets, and once she made it to shore, she taken to a waiting ambulance.
Not long after, the mother was found after managing to stay above water. She was also awake and alert.
Both the mother and child were taken to Cody Regional Health.
In the second rescue, a little earlier Friday afternoon, the communications center received a report of a 67-year-old male and a 72-year-old female who were unable to get back to their vehicle and needed assistance while at Lily Lake in the Beartooth Mountains.
The woman had been kayaking in the lake and overturned her kayak. Although she was able to return to shore, she and her husband were exhausted from the event and unable to hike back to their vehicle.
Search and rescue and a Cody Regional Health ambulance were dispatched to respond. The couple was located about two hours after the initial call and were back to their vehicle not long after, safe and unharmed.
“This is an example of a PFD saving a life. With the ever-changing conditions in this area there is never a routine day. Safety precautions should always be in place,” PCSAR Coordinator Bill Brown said.