(Riverton, Wyo.) – The Fremont County Sheriff’s Department reported Monday that a Search and Rescue Mission began Friday night around 11 :00 p.m. ended successfully on Sunday with the return of two Riverton men who went for a drive and failed to return. Captain Ryan Lee said the men failed to return from a day trip in the South Pass area as they told family members they would. Lee said 57-year -old Dale Smith and 58-year-old David Smith were supposed to return from their trip at 7:00 p.m. that night and had failed to do so.
In a news release issued Monday, Lee said several teams were hastily organized Friday night to look in the area that night and throughout the Saturday morning in the South Pass area. Weather conditions hampered the search.
“Most roads in the area during this time of year are inaccessible by vehicle; however there are a multitude of roads and areas that had to be checked out,” Lee said. The search continued through Saturday without success. The actual search area intensified further east on Saturday as most of the areas in and around South Pass had been checked out he said in the release. Fixed wing aircraft were utilized to search most of the mountain area when weather conditions permitted.
On Sunday a helicopter out of Worland joined the search, which had now expanded to the Jeffrey City area. The helicopter crew located the men’s vehicle around noon on the Bison Basin Road near Picket Lake, some 25 miles south of the Highway 789 and Sweetwater Station area; the men were not with the vehicle.”The missing men called from the Sweetwater Station Rest area about 30 minutes after crews located their vehicle to report they had been rescued by an oilfield truck after walking about five miles Sunday morning,” Lee said. The men were in good condition, they were not injured. “They went a different direction than what they had told family members.” He said their truck became stuck Friday afternoon in a large snow drift.
“The Sheriff’s Office urges residents using the vast areas of Fremont County to plan a route, notify someone were you are going, and stick to the plan,” he said. “If something happens we can reach you much quicker when we have a general idea of where to start looking.”