Glacier Park vehicle crash injures three

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First responders prepare to rappel down a steep, wooded cliff to rescue occupants of a vehicle that plunged off Going-to-the-Sun near Packer’s Roost Monday evening. (Photo courtesy of Philip Granrund)

A motor vehicle crash on the Going-to-the-Sun Road halted traffic for nearly three hours Monday evening, Glacier National Park officials said in a press release issued Tuesday morning.

The park responded to a report of a vehicle 40 feet down an embankment near Packer’s Roost around 5 p.m. on Monday, according to the release. The vehicle reportedly had swerved to avoid another car that was stopped in the roadway to view a bear along the road.

Park rangers performed a “technical rescue,” cutting down multiple trees so a tow truck could remove the vehicle. According to the press release, all three occupants in the car were transported to the hospital in stable condition.

The accident backed up hundreds of vehicles and multiple shuttle buses along the park’s popular Going-to-the-Sun Road. The volume of cars on the road during periods of high visitation means even minor accidents can delay traffic for hours, as was the case Monday evening.

“Unexpected incidents in the park can have significant consequences for visitors,” Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow said.

The motor vehicle crash wasn’t the only incident that occurred in Glacier Park Monday evening that required response from officials.

At about the same time as the vehicle crash, park rangers responded to a call at Lake Josephine for a visitor who “suffered an open ankle fraction after falling from a horse,” the release said. Rescuers carried the patient to the trailhead where A.L.E.R.T. medical helicopter personnel then transported the injured rider to the hospital.

In the midst of the car crash and riding injury, the park also responded to a report of an infant locked in a car, two missing parties, a bear struck by a car on U.S. 2, a DUI arrest in Many Glacier and an abandoned dog at the Logan Pass Visitor Center.

According to the press release, Glacier National Park law enforcement and emergency services incidents year-to-date are up 40 percent over 2018. Total calls for service are up 500 more calls year-to-date over 2018 figures.

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