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Photographer recalls Glacier National Park car accident rescue

Posted at 10:35 AM, Jul 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-10 12:35:39-04

KALISPELL – Three people are injured after their vehicle rolled 40 feet down an embankment at Glacier National Park.

MTN News spoke with a witness who was able to capture this terrifying accident.

“I was hoping to take a late evening trip to avoid the crowds that accumulate during the day time and was hoping for a nice quiet evening in Glacier Park,” Philip Granrud said. 

“I came across five Glacier National Park ranger vehicles parked, blocking one side of the road.”

What the Kalispell photographer came across was this accident.

Emergency crews responded on 7.8.19 to a vehicle down an embankment near Packer’s Roost. (photo credit: Philip Granrud Photography)

Around 5 p.m. on Monday, a car swerved to avoid another car stopped on Going to the Sun Road viewing a bear and in doing so plummeted 40 feet off the road near Packers’ Roost.

Park spokesperson Lauren Alley says the extraction process wasn’t simple.

“From there, our folks that are qualified in search and rescue were able to put their harnesses on, put their ropes on and go down the embankment and do an evaluation of the patients in the car,” Alley said.

Three people were transported to the hospital in stable condition.

Granrud, a lifelong Montanan, has been visiting Glacier National Park his entire life and never has seen anything like this. He says he was shocked but knew he had to capture this moment.

“As a photographer, you want to capture interesting moments, but you also want to make sure that it’s tasteful and make sure everyone is ok,” Granrud told MTN News.

His photo has been shared almost 300 times on Facebook on top of hundreds of comments.

Philip Granrud
Philip Granrud, a lifelong Montanan, has been visiting Glacier National Park his entire life and never has seen anything like this. (MTN News photo)

But Alley says even experienced visitors like Granrud need to pay close attention to the road. With almost three million visitors last year, everyone needs to be aware to prevent these sorts of accidents from happening.

“Defensive driving skills are even more important on the Going to the Sun Road.  So, make sure you’re leaving plenty of space between you and the car in front of you,” Alley advised.

“Plan for the unexpected, you know, if you see a car that looks like they might pull out in front of you, they’re probably going to,” she added.

Alley said it’s not clear yet if speed played a factor in the crash or if the car that went off the road was from out of state.