Search & Rescue: Missions

How to Help / Donate Click on this link if you would like to make a donation to the Park County Search and Rescue Unit.

Missions Click on this link to read about rescue missions conducted so far in 2018.

Volunteers Click on this link to learn more about our volunteers.


The purpose of Park County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit (PCSAR) is to organize for, plan for, train for, maintain equipment for, and respond to incidents requiring search and rescue assistance as requested, directed, and authorized by the Sheriff of Park County, Wyoming.  The following is a brief synopsis of our missions so far in 2018.

WY11-01-18, Thermopolis Search:  At 23:15 p.m. on January 30, 2018, Search and Rescue was requested by the Thermopolis Police Department to deploy a K-9 search team to the city in an attempt to locate an 8-year-old child that had been missing since 08:00 p.m. this date. The missing child had wandered off from her residence with her twin sister. The sister was immediately located but the siblings became separated. Park County SAR coordinator was called in and a K-9 search team was deployed. While en route to the scene, we were informed that the child had been located. She had a minor injury to her leg but was otherwise in good condition. Park County SAR was canceled.

WY11-02-18, The Way West Search:  At 10:30 a.m., April 13, 2018, a local resident reported a 2009 Dodge pickup truck parked at the intersection of The Way West and Hwy 296. Thinks it’s been there all night. Registered owner is an avid horn hunter but never stays overnight. SAR was activated and deployed two ground teams (12 total people) for a search of the area. Additional information from the hunter’s friend indicated he was home the night before but went hunting this morning. Local residents also advised they did not think the subject’s truck was there last night. SAR personnel searched for 2.5 hours before the subject appeared at his truck unharmed.

WY11-03-18, Morning Kayaker Rescue:  On Saturday morning, April 28th at 6:00 a.m., SAR responded to the Buffalo Bill Reservoir for reports of someone in the water near the north shore campground calling for help. A 19-year-old male was camping with some friends at the north shore campground when he and a companion ventured out on the reservoir in kayaks. After a short period, the victim’s kayak capsized. He was not wearing a life jacket. An ambulance was dispatched to the scene as well as a SAR water team with their fast response inflatable boat. However, before SAR could arrive, the victim was able to make it to shore. He was then transported to the hospital by ambulance where he was treated for hypothermia.

WY11-04-18, Sweetwater Rescue:  At 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, April 29th, 2018, the Park County Sheriff’s 911 Dispatch Center received a call for help from two young men on the Sweetwater Trail approximately a mile north of the Wapiti Campground. Both men, age 19 had hiked up the Sweetwater Trail early on Saturday for a day of horn hunting. When they reached the Sweetwater Creek crossing, the water level was such that they were able to wade across and continue north. However, the weather on Saturday was sunny and 70 degrees for most of the day causing the surrounding mountain snowmelt to accelerate. When the two men reached the creek crossing on the way back, the depth and speed of the water was such that they were prevented from crossing safely. SAR deployed a ground team with all-terrain vehicles as well as a water team with two small pontoon boats. Upon reaching the scene, the decision was made to wait until first light to attempt a rescue for the safety of all concerned. The two men were appropriately dressed and had the ability to make a fire. SAR members also stayed the night with the men albeit on the opposite shore. When daylight came, SAR members were able to get the two men across the creek using a small pontoon boat and anchor ropes. Aside from being tired and hungry, both men were uninjured.

WY11-05-18, Beartooth Highway Rescue:  On Tuesday, May 1, 2018, two visitors attempting to get to the Northeast Gate of Yellowstone National Park had to be rescued by Park County Search and Rescue after they ignored the posted “Road Closed” signs and became stuck in deep snow on the Beartooth Highway. The incident happened approximately one mile northwest of the Pilot Creek parking area, west of the intersection of the Chief Joseph Highway. The two men were following directions from their GPS device when they became stuck in approximately a foot of snow on the highway. They passed at least two “Road Closed” signs prior to becoming stuck but said that their navigation device indicated the road to be open, so they continued around the signs. SAR was mobilized after a cell phone call at 1:30 p.m. from the victims disconnected before detailed information including their condition and exact location could be obtained. SAR deployed two ground teams equipped with snowmobiles to search the area. Upon locating the victims, SAR members solicited the help of a local resident who was able to tow the victims back onto the pavement using a 4-wheel drive pickup equipped with tire chains. The victims were unharmed and decided to take another route into the park.

WY11-06-18, Corbett Bridge Rescue:  On Saturday, June 9, 2018, a 16-year old juvenile male had to be rescued from the Shoshone River north of the Corbett Bridge after the raft in which he was riding missed the “take out” ramp under the bridge and continued downriver towards the Corbett Dam. The initial call came into the Park County Sheriff’s 911 Communications Center at 2:20 p.m. reporting that there were three people from the raft in the water downriver from the “take out”. Search and Rescue (SAR) were immediately mobilized and deployed their swift-water rescue team to the area. Upon arrival, SAR discovered that there were indeed three people in the raft when it initially missed the ramp. All three of those occupants jumped from the raft into the river. A female was immediately assisted to shore by bystanders. Another male occupant held onto the raft as it went downriver and was eventually able to paddle it to shore by hand. However, the third juvenile victim continued downriver for approximately one-half mile, before grabbing onto a tree that was sticking out of the unusually high water. The victim clung to the tree until SAR was able to reach him with their pontoon boats and evacuate him to shore. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance for treatment of some minor cuts and bruises.

WY11-07-18, City Shop Rescue:  A 24-year-old Cody man was rescued early the morning of June 21st from the Shoshone River just east of the Cody City Shop near the end of 19th Street.  The Park County 911 Dispatch Center received a 911 call at 2:55 a.m. but there was no one on the line.  The dispatcher reportedly only heard rushing water.  The call mapped to an area on the Shoshone River near the oxidation ponds approximately a third of a mile downriver from the Belfry Bridge.  A Cody Police officer was immediately dispatched to the area.  Upon arrival, he observed a 2003 Dodge pickup truck in the river with its tail lights sticking out of the water.  He also heard someone calling for help.  Park County Search and Rescue, Cody Fire and an ambulance from Cody Regional Hospital were dispatched to the scene.  Apparently the victim for reasons unknown, had driven into the river from his residence at the Rivers Bend Trailer Park and floated downriver.  When his truck began to submerge, he exited the vehicle and was able to make it to a small sandbar approximately a half mile from the trailer park.  A swift-water team from Search and Rescue deployed on the river at 3:55 a.m. in their pontoon boats.  They were able to reach the victim and safely evacuate him to shore at 4:05 a.m.  He was taken to Cody Regional Hospital where he was treated for exposure.

WY11-08-18, Four Bear Evacuation:  On June 23rd at 12:14 p.m., Search and Rescue was activated for a 76-year-old male that had been bucked off his horse one mile up Four Bear Trail from the trailhead.  The victim was complaining of back and rib pain.  While SAR was responding to the scene, a deputy was able to contact the reporting party and learn that the victim was 100 yards from a residence.  Furthermore, there was a two-track road along a fence line leading to the victim.  A SAR member who lived close by and is also a doctor responded directly to the scene and was able to stabilize the victim while waiting for additional aid.  An ambulance soon arrived on scene and transported the victim prior to SAR’s arrival.  SAR response was then cancelled.

WY11-09-18, Six Mile Rescue: On Sunday, July 1, 2018, SAR responded to an overturned raft on the Shoshone River near the Bureau of Reclamation access road in the Shoshone Canyon. The initial call came into the Park County Sheriff’s 911 Communications Center at 1:34 p.m. reporting that small inflatable raft had “flipped” and there were four people missing. Sheriff’s deputies immediately responded to the scene along with a SAR ground team and swift-water rescue team. Upon arrival, deputies discovered that there were originally five people in the raft when it overturned. One victim was able to immediately make it to shore and call for help. The other four occupants floated downriver and were unaccounted for when deputies and SAR arrived. They immediately began a search of the shoreline downriver. Eventually, all four subjects were located on shore. Two of the victims were on the south side of the river east of the Shoshone River siphon. The other two victims were approximately 200 yards further downstream on the north side. None of the victims were able to climb out of the canyon from their positions due to the steep rocky terrain. A ground team from SAR was able to reach the victims on the north side and guide them up and over the rugged terrain to an established trail further up the hillside. The victims on the south side were evacuated to the north shore by the SAR swift-water team using a pontoon boat. All victims were wearing life jackets. They were treated for minor cuts and scrapes.

WY11-10-18, Gibbs Bridge Search: On July 4th at 1:35 p.m., Park County Sheriff Dispatch received a report of a small raft overturned on the Shoshone River west of the Gibbs Bridge. There was no one around it. Search and Rescue was activated and responded with their swift water rescue team. However, prior to their arrival a deputy on scene located the occupants of the raft safe and on shore. SAR response was cancelled.

WY11-11-18, Sweetwater Search: On Saturday, July 7th a Powell couple were rescued from the Sweetwater drainage after their animals bucked them off and returned to the Wapiti campground without them. The victims were riding in the drainage when the accident occurred. The call came in to the Park County Sheriff’s Office 911 Dispatch Center at 3:00 p.m. Information was relayed through the Interagency/Forest Service Dispatch Center that two hikers found an injured mule and a quarter horse with no riders approximately ¾ of a mile up the Sweetwater Trail and brought them out to the campground. Park County Search and Rescue (SAR) was activated and a ground team responded to the trail head. In the meantime, a Search and Rescue aircraft departed Yellowstone Regional Airport and began a search of the drainage. At 3:48 p.m., the SAR aircraft located the victims at the second Sweetwater Creek crossing. However, the creek had swollen to the point that they were unable to cross. SAR contacted a local outfitter who responded to the scene with horses and several riders. The victims were then safely evacuated by SAR on horseback. The female victim suffered a separated shoulder during her fall but was treated and stabilized by SAR prior to her evacuation.

WY11-12-18, BB Reservoir Out of Gas Rescue: On July 22, 2018 at 10:45 a.m., sheriff’s dispatch received a report of a boater on Buffalo Bill reservoir that had run out of gas and was unable to row to shore due to strong winds. Search and Rescue was activated and responded to the hall, however prior to deployment, the victim was able to reach shore and advised he no longer required assistance. SAR response was canceled at 11:15 a.m.

WY11-13-18, Lake Falls Rescue: At 11:45 p.m. on July 24, 2018, Park County Sheriff 911 Dispatch Center received a third party report from Interagency Dispatch of an 83-year old female hiker at Lake Falls who fell down an 80-foot embankment and broke her tibia. She also sustained facial injuries. Search and Rescue was activated and responded with three ground teams. Immediately upon arrival of the SAR teams, EMT’s were able to treat and evacuate the 83-year old female patient. She was then transported to Billings Hospital via Guardian Helicopter.

WY11-14-18, Southfork Shoshone Trail Rescue: At 16:47 p.m. on July 24, 2018, the Park County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a report of a possible male having a heart attack on the Southfork Shoshone River Trail approximately 3 kilometers south of the Majo Ranch. The report came from an activation of an InReach SOS device. Search and Rescue was immediately activated and prepared to launch a ground team on horseback to the location. Guardian helicopter was also launched to the area. At 17:55 p.m., the Guardian helicopter advised they flew over what they believed was the victim’s party and they were “waiving off” the helicopter. The InReach dispatch center also advised they received a cancellation on the original device. SAR response was then cancelled.

WY11-15-18, Beauty Lake Rescue: On July 27, 2018 at 11:52 a.m., Park County 911 Dispatch Center received a report through Inter-Agency Dispatch that a 48-year old female fell and broke her ankle at Beauty Lake, 2.5 miles north of Beartooth Lake trail head. Search and Rescue responded with an inflatable Zodiac in case a lake crossing was needed.  A Wilderness Medical Team from Cody Regional Health also responded.  Once on scene, SAR made the decision to cross Island Lake in the Zodiac and then continue on to the victim on foot.  At 15:45 p.m. the Wilderness Medical Team reached the victim and treated her injuries.  At 16:32 p.m., the SAR team arrived at the victim and evacuated her using a large wheeled back country litter.  At 19:00 p.m., the victim was transferred to an ambulance for transport to Cody Regional Hospital.  It’s worth noting that a male grizzly bear stayed within 100 yards of the ground units all during the evacuation.

WY11-16-18, Buffalo Bill Reservoir Search:  At 00:14 a.m. on July 29, 2018 the Park County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a report of a truck and boat trailer parked at the north shore boat ramp of the Buffalo Bill Reservoir that had been there all day.  Contact with the owner’s father who advised his son was fishing on an older boat but was not expected to fish overnight.  Last known position of the victim’s cell phone at 7:49 p.m. put him just off of the south shore boat ramp.  Search & Rescue responded with their RibCraft fast inflatable for a water search.  SAR also deployed two K-9 teams to search the south shoreline.  In addition, SAR launched its aircraft at daylight to aid in the search.  At 6:26 a.m., the victim was located by the SAR boat on the south shore of the reservoir on the Northfork side.  He had decided to camp on the shore overnight.  Victim claimed to have advised the state park attendant of his intentions.

WY11-19-18, Crow Peak Evacuation: On September 9, 2018 at 12:30 p.m., Sheriff’s Dispatch was advised of a 59-year-old male hiker on Crow Peak who had his foot trapped under a 500 lb. boulder. SAR was activated and deployed two ground teams to the area. At the same time a medical helicopter from Guardian Flight was requested however they were unable to land near enough to the victim due to the steep terrain. Therefore a helicopter from Tip Top SAR in Sublette County with short haul capabilities was summoned to the scene. At 2:14 p.m., three riders on horseback from the Shoshone Lodge reached the victim and freed him from the boulder. He had a crushed ankle and the riders were unable to move him. At 5:01 p.m., a SAR ground team using horses was able to reach and stabilize the victim. At 5:36 p.m., Tip Top’s helicopter was able to evacuate the victim via short haul to an ambulance who transported him to the hospital.

WY11-20-18, Granite Lake Rescue: On September 9, 2018, at 3:45 p.m., Sheriff’s Dispatch was advised by a 3rd party of a male victim in the area of Granite Lake that had been mauled by a grizzly bear. A SAR ground team was deployed to the area. Guardian Helicopter was also launched as was AIR-1 to search the area for the victim. At 5:48 p.m., Guardian located the victim but had to land a mile from him. AIR-1 stayed in the air to monitor the rescue. The victim was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Billings by Guardian Flight at 7:00 p.m. In the meantime the SAR ground team hiked to the area to assist the victim’s companion out of the area, since there was no room for him to accompany his friend on the medical helicopter. They were accompanied by a Game and Fish officer. At 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 10, the subject was evacuated from the area by the ground team.

WY11-21-18, Paint Creek Search: On September 9, 2018, at 6:30 p.m., Sheriff’s Dispatch received a report of a missing female hiker in the area of the gravel pit near the Painter’s Store off Highway 296. She was last seen with her husband at 3:00 p.m. SAR was activated and deployed AIR-1 to search the area. A ground team as well as two canine teams were also activated to search the area. At 8:00 p.m., the victim contacted the Sheriff’s Dispatch to say that she had made it to the Painter’s Store and that she was OK. SAR response was cancelled.

WY11-22-18, Beartooth Pass Search: On September 11, 2018 at 4:18 p.m. Sheriff’s Dispatch received a call from a female at the Top of the World Store. She advised that her 19-year-old niece had been sitting on a rock above the Beartooth Highway approximately 8 miles east of the store. The girl was just sitting on a rock entering in her journal when all of a sudden, she simply wasn’t there. This occurred approximately 2 hours ago. She’s been missing ever since. SAR was activated and prepared to deploy an aircraft from Choice Aviation (AIR-1 pilots unavailable) as well as multiple ground teams to the area. However, an hour after the initial report, the reporting party called to say that the girl had reappeared and she was fine. SAR response was canceled.

WY11-23-18, Boulder Basin Rescue: On September 14, 2018 at 11:30 a.m., the Sheriff’s Dispatch received a report via an InReach satellite device that a hunter had fallen off his horse into a boulder field, breaking his shoulder and several ribs. This occurred in a tributary of Boulder Creek in the area of Boulder Basin at the end of the South Fork. Guardian Helicopter was mobilized but was unable to land at or near patient due to the rough terrain. A SAR ground team was therefore deployed to stage at Southfork Ranger Station to assist. A helicopter from Tip Top SAR in Sublette County with short haul capabilities was summoned to the scene. At 4:10 p.m., Tip Top helicopter arrived at staging and picked up a PCSAR member to possibly assist in the patient evacuation. At 5:30 p.m., Tip Top SAR was able to evacuate the victim by short haul to a waiting ambulance. He was then transported to a hospital by ambulance.

WY11-24-18, Dead Indian MVC: On October 12, 2018 at 10:00 p.m., Search and Rescue was activated to assist with a motor vehicle crash at mile marker 25 on Highway 296 – Chief Joseph Highway – Dead Indian Hill. A large construction dump truck that was hauling dirt to the “slide repair area” had lost control and plunged some 250 feet off a cliff and down into Dead Indian Creek. Two SAR ground teams responded to perform a steep angle evacuation of the driver fatality. Two members of the high-angle team rapelled down the cliffs to reach the crash site. At 2:30 a.m., they were able to evacuate the victim’s body by using a power winch up the steep cliffs. He was then released to the county coroner.

WY11-25-18, Horse Creek Evacuation: On Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 6:00 p.m., the Park County Sheriff’s 911 Dispatch Center received a report of a 46-year-old Cody man that had been thrown from his horse in the Horse Creek draining approximately five (5) miles north of the trailhead. The Horse Creek trailhead/picnic area is off the North Fork Highway, approximately four miles west of the Shoshone Forest boundary. The victim who was riding with a companion when the accident occurred, was complaining of back pain, shortness of breath and nausea. Search and Rescue (PCSAR) was immediately mobilized and deployed two ground teams to the trailhead. They were accompanied by a wilderness medical team from Cody Regional Hospital. Due to the terrain and inclement weather at the time, a medical helicopter was not an option for patient evacuation. The ground teams therefore hiked in and were able to reach the victim at approximately 11:30 p.m.  Members of the Wilderness Medical Team with the assistance of an emergency room doctor who was also on scene (PCSAR member), stabilized the victim and began an attempt to evacuate him. However, due to night conditions, the inclement weather and the extreme ruggedness of the terrain, it was determined that a safe evacuation was impossible at that time. The decision was made to spend the night with the victim and make him comfortable until morning. Processes were then implemented to summon a Blackhawk helicopter from the Wyoming Army National Guard out of Cheyenne to “short haul” him out at first light. At 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, the Blackhawk arrived on scene and lowered an army medic down to the victim. He was then packaged in a transport litter and raised up to the helicopter along with the medic. He was then transported to a local hospital.

WY11-26-18, Willwood Evacuation: On Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at 9:45 p.m., the Park County Sheriff’s 911 Dispatch Center received a report of a 48-year-old hunter that had fallen down a steep gully in the area of the Willwood near the Garland Canal.  The victim was non-ambulatory and possibly suffered from a broken leg.  Two SAR ground teams responded to the scene and through the use of a low-angle rope system and powered winch, they were able to bring the victim up the steep embankment and to a waiting ambulance.  The victim was then transported to a local hospital for treatment.