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Five snowmobilers injured in four area crashes

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
Daily Inter Lake | March 10, 2021 3:18 PM

Four snowmobile crashes since Saturday in Northwest Montana have sent five people to area hospitals with injuries.

Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino said the crashes have occurred in the Whitefish and Olney areas, with icy conditions contributing to the wrecks.

In the most recent crash, at about 4 p.m. Tuesday, a 30-year-old woman and her 6-year-old daughter struck a tree. They were riding with an outfitted group about 2 miles northwest of Big Mountain’s Summit House in the Canyon Creek drainage when the accident occurred.

The woman and her child, who are believed to be out-of-area residents, were airlifted from the scene by ALERT air ambulance to Kalispell Regional Medical Center on two separate trips. The child reportedly had rib injuries while the woman’s injuries were unknown.

In another wreck, a 52-year-old man from Georgia was riding a snowmobile with a group when he hit a tree at about 4 p.m. Monday in the Kimberly Basin area. He may have suffered a broken leg, but his exact condition was unknown.

Heino said a sheriff’s deputy was riding snowmobiles with his family in the area at the same time and was able to call 911 with a Garmin inReach device. Two Bear Air rescued the man, flew him to Glacier Park International Airport and Evergreen Rescue took him to KRMC.

A third crash occurred at about 4:22 p.m. Saturday, involving a different 52-year-old man, near the survival cabin below Summit House on Big Mountain.

Heino said the man rode a snowmobile into a tree and suffered a broken leg. He was transported from the scene by Two Bear Air and then taken to a local hospital by Three Rivers ambulance service. It is not known where the man is from.

The first crash of the weekend occurred at about 2 p.m. Saturday in the Olney area in the Swift Creek drainage, Heino said.

A man, age and residence not known, was riding a snowmobile when he hit a tree and suffered a compound arm fracture and broken leg. North Valley Search and Rescue, Two Bear Air and ALERT were called and ALERT transported the man to the hospital.

“Very unusual to have that many crashes in a short period of time,” Heino said.

Reporter Scott Shindledecker may be reached at 758-4441 or shindledecker@dailyinterlake.com.