As many commenters have pointed out, yesterday’s helicopter crash that killed Teton County Search and Rescue volunteer Ray Shriver serves as a painful reminder that rescuers risk their lives every time they go into the backcountry.
The Teton County Sheriff’s Office has released a few more details about the crash (see release after jump). Notably, the chopper never reached the scene of the snowmobile accident on Togwotee Pass. The helicopter was hovering, looking for a landing spot, when it suddenly lost altitude and crashed, authorities said.
This is the first fatality on the team since it formed in 1993; before that, it had operated for years as a loose-knit group of volunteers. Only once had a team member been seriously injured, the result of a fall in the Darby Canyon caves.
We’ve read about so many daring, and successful, rescues in the Tetons over the years — whether featuring GTNP rangers or TCSAR volunteers — that perhaps we had come to take helicopter missions for granted. Not anymore.