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Search and Rescue

Elderly Man Rescued In Park County After Falling While Fishing

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Park County Sheriff’s Office rescued an elderly man late last week after injured his back and head in a fall while fishing.

The sheriff’s office received a call for assistance on Thursday afternoon in an area off of U.S. Highway 14 after the 84-year-old fell.

A number of emergency officials were all paged to respond, including the sheriff’s office, Park County Search and Rescue and the Cody Fire Department.

“Even though the fire department was not formally requested to respond to this incident they immediately jumped in to provide service and answer the call of duty, just another example of the exemplary team work that can be counted on in Park County,” Park County Undersheriff Andy Varian said.

About 45 minutes after the initial call was made, the man was assessed by emergency medical staff and was put into a cervical collar and full-body vacuum splint for spinal immobilization.

He was then hauled up the hill via a rope haul system that search and rescue personnel constructed. He was then secured and taken to the waiting ambulance.

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Climbing Accident Was Cause of Death For Cheyenne Doctor, Say Authorities

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Cheyenne anesthesiologist whose body was found in the Wind River Mountains earlier this week apparently died from a fall, officials said Thursday.

Thor Hallingbye, 41, was last seen near Gannett Peak in the mountain range on the afternoon of Aug. 14 and was reported missing later that evening when he failed to return to his base camp in Sublette County.

Hallingbye’s body was found Monday afternoon by a helicopter crew on Gannett Glacier in Fremont County at an elevation of 12,942 feet. He’d died of an apparent fall.

After coordinating efforts with the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and the Fremont County Coroner, the Tip Top Search and Rescue short haul team planned Hallingbye’s recovery.

“This was a very challenging mission, and a very challenging recovery. Our team did a superior job and I am proud of their accomplishments on this mission,” Tip Top short haul Manager Milford Lockwood said.

“This appears to be a tragic climbing accident, and our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of Mr. Hallingbye”, said Sublette County Sheriff’s Sgt. Travis Bingham.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Hallingbye’s family by Erin Flaherty of Whitefish, Montana.

“Jen [Hallingbye] is a strong woman and has both families nearby to help her in Cheyenne, but raising Oskar, Karl, and Katelynne just got a lot harder,” Flaherty wrote. “This fund is started in Thor’s memory and will be used to assist his family. Thank you for your support.”

State Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, lamented the news in a Facebook post earlier this week.

“I don’t know why this hurts so bad,” Brown wrote. “I hardly knew Thor but I was better for having known him. He was the kindest soul. He loved his wife and his kids more than anything. This world was better with him in it. I’m so heartbroken.”

“May God rest your soul, Thor. May God comfort Jenileah, the kids, Beth, and Stig during these troubling and heartbreaking times,” Brown said.

Hallingbye was an anesthesiologist and pain specialist at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.

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Cheyenne Doctor Thor Hallingbye Found Dead in Wind River Mountains

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

A 41-year-old Cheyenne anesthesiologist who disappeared while hiking in the Wind River Mountains over the weekend was found dead on Monday by a Sublette County search and rescue team.

Tip Top Search and Rescue announced late Monday afternoon that the body of Thor Hallingbye was discovered in Fremont County. Earlier, the rescue unit said Hallingbye was last seen in the vicinity of Gannett Peak on Saturday afternoon.

“Our sincerest condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. Hallingbye,” the organization wrote on Facebook.

Cowboy State Daily reported that his wife Jenileah said Thor got separated from his hiking group after summiting Gannett Peak around 2 p.m. Saturday, “about 30 minutes from the top.”

“Please say prayers for Thor,” she wrote. “Please pray that he is safe and that he will be found. We have faith that he is okay.”

Cheyenne legislator Landon Brown lamented the news in a Facebook post.

“I don’t know why this hurts so bad,” Brown wrote. “I hardly knew Thor but I was better for having known him. He was the kindest soul. He loved his wife and his kids more than anything. This world was better with him in it. I’m so heartbroken.”

May God rest your soul, Thor. May God comfort Jenileah, the kids, Beth, and Stig during these troubling and heartbreaking times,” Brown said.

Hallingbye was an anesthesiologist and pain specialist at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.

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Siblings Save Father From Bighorn Mountains After Horse Accident

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Two children helped with the rescue of their father from the Bighorn Mountains this week after he was thrown from his horse.

According to South Big Horn County Search and Rescue, the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a girl in the Paint Rock Lakes area Tuesday afternoon who reported her father had been thrown from his horse and possibly had a broken jaw and other injuries.

Search and rescue ground teams were dispatched to the area. Once initial coordinates were established, an air medical resource was requested.

The helicopter flew directly to the scene with one search and rescue team member onboard, and they located the man and his son and daughter around 75 minutes after the initial call.

The man was moved to the aircraft by the crew and SAR member and transported to a clinic in Billings, Montana.

The search and rescue team member hiked with the children to a campground, where they met the ground teams, two sheriff’s deputies and the children’s mother.

“We must include the patient’s two children in our post today as part of the team effort,” the team said on social media. “The girl hiked to higher ground, made the 911 call, stayed on the phone and gave critical information that helped us locate her. The boy stayed with his dad until help arrived and both children made sure their horses were controlled during the helicopter approach and landing. They were amazing!”

Everyone was off the mountain by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

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Teton County Search And Rescue Saves Ranger, Dog From Teton Wilderness

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A U.S. Forest Service backcountry ranger who was hit by a falling tree in the Teton Wilderness was rescued, along with her dog, on Tuesday by Teton County Search and Rescue.

According to the search and rescue team, the ranger had been hit by the falling tree days ago and suffered a shoulder injury. The pain was unrelenting, so she called for help at 3:19 a.m. Tuesday, prompting a response from TCSAR and the U.S. Forest Service, which manages the area she was in.

At 8 a.m. Tuesday, a team of two TCSAR volunteers, a USFS ranger and a pilot traveled by helicopter to the Hawks Rest Patrol Cabin, which is just miles from the Yellowstone National Park boundary, one of the most remote places in the contiguous U.S.

Upon landing, the team found the ranger and her dog in the cabin.

“They assessed the patient’s injuries (and pet the dog) before loading her and the canine into the helicopter, and flew back to Jackson for additional medical attention,” the team wrote on social media. “The team was out of the field just after 10 a.m. Thank you to the USFS and pilot for the invaluable partnership. Our team was happy to have had a hand in helping this ranger get out of a jam.”

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Powell Couple Rescued After Being Stranded In Big Horn Mountains For 9 Days

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

After spending more than a week stranded in the Big Horn Mountains, a Powell couple was rescued on Monday by officers with the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office assisted by the Wyoming Air National Guard.

The unidentified couple left the Porcupine Falls area on July 18, but ran out of food and water and one of the two began experiencing medical problems. They tried hiking off of the Little Mountain area toward the road, but due to the heat and lack of water, they became dehydrated.

Late Monday afternoon, the couple was able to get cell phone service and contact the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office to request assistance.

They were stranded on a rim rock cliff area in Simmons Canyon and unable to move up or down due to the steep terrain.

Two search and rescue units were deployed to the area and made contact with the victims after a rapid ascent.

Due to their exhaustion, dehydration and medical conditions, the couple could not be moved. One was also badly sunburned.

Rescue personnel brought food, water and medical supplies in order to care for them through the night.

The Wyoming Air National Guard from Cheyenne arrived Tuesday morning to remove the couple from the canyon and take them to an ambulance on a nearby highway. At this time, it is expected the two will make a full recovery.

“With the hot and dry temperatures we want to remind everybody to be extremely cautious during this time and make sure they have plenty of water, sun screen, and clothing to protect them from the extreme heat elements,” the sheriff’s office said.

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Teton County Search and Rescue Saves Two Hikers Friday Night

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Teton County Search and Rescue officers had a busy start to their weekend, spending Friday night looking for two different groups of hikers reported as returning home late.

Both search efforts ended with the hikers found safe.

On Friday night, an Idaho Falls man called to report his sister and her two daughters were late returning from Darby Canyon. They had planned to hike up to the Wind Cave, enter partway and then come back out.

The woman and her daughters were five hours late returning home when the man called.

A Teton County Search and Rescue member living in Teton County responded to the trailhead and found the trio at their vehicle. Their hike took longer than anticipated and all were safe and OK.

Another call was made at around 11 p.m. Friday, when a woman reported her sister and brother-in-law were overdue in returning from a hike at Table Mountain and could be lost.

Search and Rescue sent two teams out, one up the Face Trail and another up the North Teton Trail. The volunteers arrived at the trailhead around 1 a.m. and set out on the search.

Around an hour later, the team on North Teton Trail found the missing hikers, who were unhurt, but relieved to see help arrive.

The volunteers escorted the hikers back to the trailhead.

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Park County Search And Rescue Saves Mother and Child After High Winds Flipped Kayak

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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.

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Woman Rescued By Helicopter After Horse “Ejected” Her Down Park County Canyon

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A woman was rescued and airlifted to a hospital in Park County when a horse bucked her off into a steep and rocky canyon.

The woman has been horseback riding with her family on June 23 when she was “ejected” from her horse in a steep and rocky canyon. She appeared to have a closed head injury and a possibly broken pelvis.

The Big Horn County and Park County search and rescue teams, along with Cody Regional Health, assisted with the retrieval of the woman.

Once team reached her, she was treated at the scene Cody Regional Health employees, then she was placed on a wheeled bed and transported out of the canyon.

Due to an area of the trail that was exceedingly rocky and steep the Search and Rescue Teams used a rope belay system to ensure a safe decent.

A rope belay system acts as a brake on the rope by using friction. The tension on the rope helps protect the climbers, and if someone falls, they won’t fall very far.

Once the woman was successfully removed from the canyon, she was transported via helicopter to Billings. No further information on her condition is known at this time.

“The ability for so many agencies to come together and work as one team provides for a much safer environment for everyone,” search and rescue coordinator Bill Brown said.

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Teton County Search and Rescue Saves Boy From Horse Accident, Woman With Broken Leg

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Teton County Search and Rescue personnel had a busy weekend, with two rescues in two days.

First, on Saturday, the organization was asked to respond to a report of a boy who had been injured in a horse accident on Gros Ventre Road in Bridger-Teton National Forest. The reporting party was able to reach the dispatchers using an emergency locator device.

Search and rescue responded with ground and helicopter teams, with the helicopter crew reaching him first. Team members assessed the boy’s injuries and packed him into the helicopter for transport to further medical treatment.

On Sunday, the team assisted Grand Teton National Park after being notified that a woman had broken her leg at Phelps Lake inside the park.

Park rangers short-hauled her for further medical treatment.

Teton County SAR has had one of its busiest years ever in 2021, responding to three avalanche-related deaths in a span of five days back in the winter.

In February, the team rescued eight stranded snowmobilers after they became lost on Beartooth Pass.  

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