By Jim Stanford on February 15, 2012
A helicopter carrying members of Teton County Search and Rescue crashed this afternoon on Togwotee Pass.
Two rescuers and a pilot were on board. All three sustained injuries, and a rescue was underway, according to a sheriff’s office press release.
The crash occurred 6.7 miles south of Togwotee Mountain Lodge. The chopper had been dispatched to help a snowmobile party in distress. The crash happened between 1 and 2 p.m., County10 reported.
Teton County Search and Rescue sent a ground team to respond. Grand Teton National Park and Fremont County assisted. The full text of the sheriff’s office press release appears after the jump.
Update 8 p.m.: The sheriff’s office and county coroner have confirmed that one of the rescuers has died. Identification is being withheld, pending notification of family. The News&Guide has a detailed account of the response.
Update 9:20 p.m.: The deceased is a longtime member of the team. Veteran pilot Ken Johnson was flying. Mechanical trouble appears to be the cause, as the crash occurred on a mostly clear, calm day.
My deepest condolences to the entire Search and Rescue team.
From TCSO at 6:45 p.m.:
Teton County Sheriff’s Office reports the crash landing of its contracted Search and Rescue helicopter earlier today.
The helicopter, with two Search and Rescue members and pilot, was responding to an incident on Togwotee Mountain involving a snowmobile. Upon departure from the scene, the helicopter proceeded south when it appeared to experience difficulty, and then went over a ridge, disappearing from the line of sight of the snowmobile party.
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.
The crash scene is located 6.7 miles south of Togwotee Mountain Lodge. The crew notified Dispatch that all three members on board sustained injuries. At 3:15 p.m. a Civil Air Patrol plane located the crash scene.
A unified response is underway with crews from Teton County Sheriff’s Office, Teton County Search and Rescue and Grand Teton National Park. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.