By Jim Stanford on February 15, 2012
The Teton County Sheriff’s Office has identified the victim of today’s helicopter crash as Ray Shriver. He was 63 years old.
Shriver was one of the longest-serving members of the volunteer Search and Rescue team. He was a dog trainer, as seen in this video above. He once survived an avalanche on Teton Pass and was a veteran of many search missions throughout the region.
Shriver was quiet but possessed a wealth of knowledge. “He was a teacher,” said one member of the team.
He is survived by two sons, Zach and Matt.
Shriver was flying in the helicopter while responding to a fatal snowmobile accident on Togwotee Pass. Ken Johnson, a former U.S. Army pilot and veteran of dozens of rescue missions in the Tetons, was at the controls. One other member of the search team was on board and injured in the crash.
In 1991, Shriver and son Zach were buried in an avalanche in Snowshoe Bowl on the west side of Teton Pass and dug out by Jay Pistono.
In July 2000, Shriver took part in one of the Search and Rescue team’s most famous missions when actor and part-time resident Harrison Ford volunteered his helicopter to recover a dehydrated hiker. Johnson also was the pilot. Because of Ford’s involvement, the rescue garnered headlines and prompted speculation whether the mission was warranted, given the hiker’s condition.
The Jackson Hole News reported:
Shriver emphasized that the search team only summons a helicopter in grave circumstances. ‘We don’t take this lightly,’ he said. ‘Helicopters are dangerous. The circumstances we felt warranted it.’
Shriver wound up saving the actor some trouble, too:
Before reaching the hospital, the woman — whom Shriver said was ‘quite ill’ — began to vomit. ‘I was looking for barf bags, but there weren’t any,’ Shriver said. ‘I really didn’t want her barfing all over [Ford’s] nice corporate helicopter with its nice leather seats. She barfed in my hat.’
Killed in the initial snowmobile accident on Togwotee Pass was Steven Anderson, 53, of Morris, Minn., authorities said.
Here is the latest release from the Teton County Sheriff’s Office:
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.
Again, my deepest condolences to the team, Shriver’s family and all involved.