(Lander, Wyo.) – The Fremont County Sheriff’s Department today released details on the successful search and rescue to find two Lander teenagers who had been missing overnight in the Shoshone National Forest in the Louis Lake/Slate Creek area on South Pass. The two, George Case and Tyson Sollars, were located 18 hours after they were reported missing when they failed to return to town as scheduled.
The statement from the FCSO reads as follows:
At 11:19 p.m. on Wednesday, October 2, the Dispatch Center of the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office was notified that two young men who had gone to the Slate Creek area to set up an elk camp had not returned home as scheduled. A Sheriff’s Deputy was immediately dispatched to that area in an attempt to locate the individuals. Due to near white out conditions on the mountain, the deputy was unable to reach the location where the youth were suspected to be setting up camp.
It was determined that the best course of action would be to wait until the weather broke and resume the search at daylight in the event that the two missing hunters did not return during the night. It was hoped that when the storm hit the mountain the boys had either taken shelter in their tent or their vehicle to wait for a break in the weather.
At 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 3, the search began again despite continuing adverse weather conditions which included rain, snow and very muddy terrain. At 11:00 a.m. the silver 2005 GMC truck the boys had been driving was located in the Slate Creek area, but the missing hunters were not found. The search intensified and several teams of searchers were deployed to the surrounding areas.
At the height of the search there were over 45 individuals directly involved in the search efforts, four high profile SUV units and several ATV/ORV vehicles being utilized. The Wyoming Division of Homeland Security in Cheyenne was notified who in turn placed a military helicopter, equipped with forward looking infrared radar, on standby in the event the weather broke and they could launch to aid in the search. Also on standby in the Lander area was fixed wing aircraft.
At 5:16 p.m. Dispatch was notified that the two young men had been located at the base of the microwave towers in the Slate Creek area, approximately three-quaraters of a mile from the location of the truck. They were cold and wet, but after being checked out by emergency medical personnel, were determined to be in good physical condition. All rescue teams were notified and called back to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office. The young men were transported off the mountain by a parent.
The search and rescue mission was officially completed at 8:17 p.m. after all searchers had been accounted for and were off the mountain. Sheriff Skip Hornecker expressed his thanks to everyone involved in the search effort, which included the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, Lander Police Department, Lander Search and Rescue, Riverton Search and Rescue, National Outdoor Leadership School, Wind River Off-Road Club, Atlantic City Fire Department and numerous friends and family members. “It’s time like this that reaffirms why we all live in Fremont County. This is the kind of community where a group of people, both professionals and volunteers, come together without hesitation to when when they are needed,” Hornecker said.
The Fremont County School District #1 Board of Trustees also expressed their thanks and gratitude Friday morning to the searchers for their efforts in finding the two teens, who were both 2013 graduates of Lander Valley High School.