Rescue crews, witnesses work together to save snowmobiler after crash in Umatilla Co.

Photo courtesy Umatilla County Sheriff's Office. 

UMATILLA COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - It took a team effort to rescue a snowmobiler after a crash in Umatilla County.

The sheriff’s office was notified about the crash at 1 p.m. Sunday. A 56-year-old man was thrown from his snowmobile while navigating an embankment. The snowmobile then landed on top of him.

It happened on U.S. Forest Service Road 31, about one mile north of Ruckel Junction.

Deputies said ambulances were only able to get within nine miles of the crash site, “and transporting the patient across the rugged terrain was not the best option.”

The man was experiencing significant pain in his chest and left side. A deputy and other snowmobilers covered the man with rescue tarps and blankets to maintain his body temperature.

Life Flight responded and established a landing zone on Ruckel Ridge just east of the crash site. Union County search and rescue members and the snowmobilers on scene transported Life Flight crew members and equipment to the patient. Umatilla County Search and Rescue members were then able to carefully load the patient on their utility terrain vehicle and transport him to the landing zone. At about 4 p.m., the patient was loaded onto the helicopter and flown to Walla Walla for treatment.

An update on the man’s condition was not provided Monday.

“A special thanks to Bob and Dottie Carrell with Umatilla County Search and Rescue for using their own UTV in the mission. And a thank you to all others involved in the effort including; Union and Umatilla County Dispatch Centers, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Elgin Rural Fire Protection District, City of LaGrande Fire Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Lifeflight Network, Union County Search and Rescue and Union County Dispatch Center,” according to a statement from the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 

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