Police Helicopter Rescue of Snowmobiler After Avalanche

On March 23, 2018 at 11:45 am search and rescue forces were notified that four snowmobilers had been caught in an avalanche one-half mile south of Longs Pass in Kittitas County, Okagonan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington. One was partially buried not critical, one was partially buried critical, and two were completely buried and deceased. [Note: “critical” in this context refers to the head being buried under snow.]

All party members had avalanche transceivers, shovels, and airbag packs. Probes were carried by three of the four members. One rider sustained minor injuries. The more seriously injured (but alive) rider, seen in this video, would ultimately be found to have sustained a head injury with disrupted vision in his right eye, an unclassified right shoulder injury, injury to his left knee (MCL and ACL), and multiple complex fractures to his lower left leg. He had been buried face-up, head uphill, with his legs slightly down and to the left. His left arm was free and snow nearly covered his head. The other surviving party had been buried up to his waist and self-extricated, from there providing immediate life-saving assistance to the pictured party and getting notification of emergency services in motion. (Due to their location, direct communication was not possible. complex task which required radio relays.

One of the victims, James Larson, 41, was a 14-year veteran of the Bonny Lake police department. The other fatality was Zach Roundtree, 27, an Air Force veteran also of Bonny Lake.

Nearly all of the known information on this accident can be found in the associated Northwest Avalanche Center incident report, available in a public post on Patreon.


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47 thoughts on “Police Helicopter Rescue of Snowmobiler After Avalanche

  1. I could fall asleep to the sound of that helo.

    They put that one right in the hands of the guy on the ground and he didnt even have to move!!! THAT is precision!!!

  2. I remember hearing this news. I live in Bonney Lake and it was a gut punch to our small town. Thank you for sharing this video. KCSO Air Support is top notch.

  3. Cudo's to the pilot that manages to keep a helicopter that steady with continuously moving "payload" , a hoist and the cold temperatures. There could be autopilot involved but still

  4. So Sad that two perished. Such a beautiful day with friends. Those Avalanches have no mercy. Thanks be to the first responders getting the young man to a hospital as soon as possible, your amazing! Prayers to the families involved 😞

  5. No basket to lift him? I was rescued off a boat and put into a basket. I suffered a decompression hit attempting to rescue a buddy of mine on a deep offshore wreck dive in Key Largo, FL. Much respect for these rescuers👍 They saved my life

  6. In case anyone reading this frequents avalanche prone areas. If you are in an avalanche before you come to rest tuck your nose and mouth into your elbow to create an air pocket. Once buried spit to determine which way is up, then see if you can move anything. If you’re trapped stop trying to move and relax as much as possible to conserve oxygen. There are anecdotes of people peeing to melt the snow and gain some mobility.

    When in backcountry you should always have at least one avalanche transponder on your person, but ideally two. They sell winter clothing with these built in. And also your party should have a locator for these transponders.

    If your friends are missing after an avalanche you need to act quickly and begin searching by sticking a stick into the ground, and using the transponders if you have one.

  7. Hey real world! Cam you check into a SWAT raid from Tracy California. Happened 09/17/19 at approximately 7:00pm pst

  8. Dude gets buried in an avalanche and suffers multiple injuries, then he has to take the death lift up to the helicopter. Horrifying. I hope he and the other injured guy made complete, uncomplicated recoveries.

  9. Also the guy being airlifted was SUPER stoic. He not only had been in a horrible accident, he may or may not have known that his buddies were dead, and he took a helo lift with totally UNSUPPORTED compound comminuted (shattered into little pieces, some of them poking through the skin) leg and he never complained once about hurting. F*** me. I would have been sobbing.
    Again, BRAVO to the rescue crew. Had you not been there, this easily could have increased to a three person fatality.

  10. High praise to the helicopter crew for the jobs they do in situations like this that they risk their own lives doing this. Years and years of training go into this.

  11. Dude, youre on your game today. This channel is probably my most-watched channel. Nobody posts stuff like this dude. More support from me bro

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