Teton County: One dead in helicopter crash on Togwotee Pass, one dead in snowmobile crash

MORNING UPDATE

Teton County Government released more information on the helicopter crash yesterday and snowmobiler death on its Facebook site:

“The following is being released regarding the events associated with the helicopter crash on Togwotee Mountain, 6.7 miles south of Togwotee Mountain Lodge.
Teton County Dispatch received a call at 11:48a.m. reporting a snowmobile accident on Togwotee Mountain. Teton County Search and Rescue responded with a helicopter at 12:24p.m. crewed by a pilot and two Search and Rescue members. The helicopter landed at the accident scene, confirmed the condition of the victim and left the scene with plans to return with additional personnel. The snowmobile party, comprised of the victim’s family and friends, remained on the scene.
Upon departure from the scene, the helicopter proceeded south when it appeared to experience difficulty, and then went over a ridge, disappearing out sight. The snowmobile party contacted Teton County Dispatch to notify them of the situation. Radio contact with the helicopter was lost for approximately 45 minutes. During this time Teton County Search and Rescue began assembling a team to provide a ground response. When radio contact was reestablished, the helicopter crew confirmed that they had crash landed.

“Multiple agencies responded to identify the location of the downed aircraft and to assist in the rescue operation.

“As a result of the crash, Search and Rescue member Ray Shriver, age 63, was killed. The helicopter pilot and the second Search and Rescue member were transported to St John’s Medical Center for treatment.

“Once all helicopter victims were evacuated from the scene, deputies moved to the scene of the initial incident which had resulted in the death of 53 year old Steven Anderson of Morris, Minnesota.

“The causes of both crashes are under investigation. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.”

The Fremont  County Sheriff’s Department provided an agency assist to Teton County, providing an incident command team to assist at the command center just west of the Togwotee Mountain Lodge. The team was led by Capt. David Good. Fremont County also sent one ambulance to the site, that was used to transport one of the crash victims to the Jackson hospital.

UPDATE at 8:15 p.m.

The Teton County Facebook page is reporting: “the Teton County Coroner has reported that there was a fatality of a Search and Rescue member who was aboard the helicopter that crashed while responding to a snowmobile incident on Togwotee Mountain earlier today. The name of the victim is currently being withheld pending notification of family members. The other two victims have been transported to Jackson.”

UPDATE at 6:35 p.m.

(Togwotee Mountain Lodge) — According to eyewitness reports from a command post one quarter mile west of the Togwotee Mountain Lodge, all three occupants aboard a Teton County Search and Rescue helicopter that crashed this afternoon have now been brought out from the crash scene, loaded into ambulances, and driven, presumably, to St. Johns Hospital in Jackson. Two of the victims were brought out by helicopter, one by snowmobile, according to the Jackson Hole News & Guide, which has a reporter at the command post.

The first crash victim to be flown to the staging area was loaded into a Fremont County Emergency Medical Services ambulance and it departed to Jackson.

Teton County Sheriff Jim Whalen told reporters that the crash may have occurred due to the failure of the rear rotor of the craft. Aboard the aircraft, according to Teton County Public Information Officer Charlotte Reynolds, was a pilot and two search and rescue personnel.

UPDATE AT 5:35 P.M.

By June Bonasera, County10.com

(Dubois) – According to Teton County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Charlotte Reynolds a  Teton County Search and Rescue helicopter with three crew members aboard responded to a call of an incident involving  snowmobilers on Togwotee pass this afternoon. However, upon departing the scene of the incident, the helicopter crashed with the three crew members aboard  sometime between 1 pm and 2 pm. The snowmobilers were not on board.

 According to Reynolds, contact with the helicopter was lost for approximately 45 minutes and within that time frame  two additional helicopters from Teton County  were dispatched to the scene, approximately 6.7 miles south of Togwotee Mountain Lodge.
Reynolds said radio contact was re-established with the downed crew members; all three sustained injuries but the severity of the injuries is unknown at this time and the names of the crew have not been released.
There are two helicopters from Teton County Search and Rescue on scene, and one response crew team via snowmobile. Response crews are from Grand Teton National Park, Teton County Search and Rescue , and the Teton and Fremont County sheriffs offices.

(Lander) — Fremont County Search and Rescue officials were called in late this afternoon to assist Teton County with an apparent downed helicopter in the vicinity of the Togwotee Mountain Lodge between Dubois and Moran Junction. Sheriff Skip Hornecker said the request for assistance was for personnel to assist with an incident command center as a search was being organized. Hornecker said the FCSO obtained a helicopter from Worland, it picked up the S&R team members in Lander headed by Captain David Good and they flew to a command center in Teton County

According to Sheriff Hornecker, a Teton County Search and Rescue helicopter based in Jackson was on an a mission to an apparent snowmobile accident on the Teton County side of Togwotee Pass. The helicopter crashed after departing the scene of the incident. Hornecker said there was no other information available.

The Teton County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that a helicopter has crashed, but no other details were immediately available.

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