ANACONDA - A search and rescue team out of Anaconda rescued an injured hiker after he spent a long cold night in the wilds of Deer Lodge County.
On Tuesday morning, Pinter Search and Rescue eventually found the victim — a Deer Lodge resident in his upper 40s — in a remote area of Perkins Gulch near Warm Springs. The victim had taken refuge in his vehicle after it got stuck Monday evening when a winter storm blew through the area. He was suffering from signs of hypothermia when emergency responders found him.
“That affected their mobility and a lot of other stuff. We worked with the victim making sure we were having a conversation with them, we didn’t want him to go to sleep so we were continuing that conversation making sure they were staying alert,” said Search and Rescue Commander Jessica Wicks.
The victim was injured in a fall while hiking and called 911 and Anaconda Police got cellphone coordinates late Monday. Search and Rescue joined the search after midnight.
“We’re looking all over the place, looking for signs and we weren’t coming across anything, the weather was terrible, so we decided to call it until daylight,” said Wicks.
The team commander said the victim was able to help himself by making smart decisions and having the resources and supplies to get him through the night.
“He did have food and some drinks in the car and that was able to help and making the decision to stay in the car us up the remaining amount of gas and battery that they had,” said Wicks.
Wicks also noted that while mistakes are made in every rescue operation, what determines success is that everyone made it out safely.
“We made the recovery, got the victim out, got him to safety, you know, that’s a happy ending, that’s what you want, right, is everybody to be safe,” she said.
The search and rescue team was aided by Anaconda Police, Anaconda Fire Department and FWP. The victim is expected to make a full recovery.