3 snowmobilers safe after night stranded outdoors

A trio of snowmobilers in Garfield County were reportedly in good condition Monday after being stranded overnight outdoors.

The three Rifle residents, an adult male, his girlfriend and her teenage daughter, managed to find their way out of a snow-packed drainage with the help of a fourth snowmobiler around 8 a.m. Monday.

Search and rescue personnel from Garfield, Mesa and Rio Blanco counties had mobilized for an extensive search effort, according to Lanny Grant, incident commander with Garfield County Search and Rescue.

The three became stuck in a drainage known as Deep Creek, about 25 miles northwest of New Castle, after they made a wrong turn while headed for home, Grant said.

The machines were bogged down in a patch of deep, unpacked snow around noon Sunday while they decided to make shelter and start a fire.

The man in the stranded party later went to seek help and ran into another snowmobiler who returned to the camp, where they spent the night before heading out Monday morning, Grant said.

Grant said his team didn’t receive an overdue party report until 10 p.m. Sunday. A brief search was soon suspended, but the searchers planned to head out again this morning, he said.

“We didn’t have a lot of information to go on,” Grant said.

“People need to leave a plan with somebody back home about where they’re starting from, and when they’re coming back.”


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