Sunday, February 26, 2017, Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office personnel as well as Search and Rescue personnel were actively involved in three searches related to people or families traveling in their cars or truck into the forest, on trails or logging roads, which were covered in snow, and becoming stuck.
The first call come into 911 at approximately 7:26am about a vehicle with three adults, one juvenile and a pet dog, that had been stuck in the snow all night, on the back side of Mt. Hebo. The subjects advised they had been there since 4pm the previous day but got stuck in about 2 to 3 feet of snow. Fortunately the stuck vehicle had ¾ tank of gas and the subjects had water which prevented an escalation to an emergency level. Local Sheriff’s Office and SAR personnel were unable to reach the site using 4×4 vehicles or with ATVs. Later, volunteers from the Dallas area responded with snowmobiles and assisted. The subjects were finally reached by snowmobile after 5:20pm and this incident was cleared at approximately 8:40pm.
Also yesterday, at about 7:51am, another call came in related to two adults and 2 dogs from the Vancouver area being missing near the Brown’s Camp area. The reporting person advised the couple went for a drive in the snow but did not return. The investigation revealed the subjects did have cellphones but apparently no service at their location. It was also advised they were believed to have bedding, snacks and water. At about 10:27am, the reporting person located Sheriff’s Office personnel to report the missing individuals had returned. The individuals had become stuck in the deep snow and waited until daylight to free themselves and return.
The next request came in at about 12:27pm related to a cellphone text from a relative advising he was stuck on a trailhead in the Blaine area. Fortunately, before SAR personnel could respond another text was received that the subjects were okay but were just stuck in the snow. At approximately 2:37pm the subjects, with the assistance of Sheriff’s Office personnel, were freed and headed back to the main road.
As winter is not over, and more snow is in the forecast, the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind you that dozens of American’s die each year from exposure to the cold. Events such as yesterday’s snow event, could last for several days and bring heavy snow, trapping your vehicle. It is highly recommended that individuals check forecasts and look for any Advisories, Watches and/or Warnings that may affect their travel.
For example, there was a Winter Weather Advisory out yesterday (Monday 2/27) for the Coast Range, valid from 1am through 4pm, warning of an additional 3-5” of snow. Remember, snow can quickly disorient you, and while you should run your motor about every 10 minutes for heat, you should be cautious and leave a window open some for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Finally, be sure to have plenty of gas, let family or friends know where you are going and when you plan to return, and carry a Winter Survival Kit.
Information provided by Tillamook County Sheriff and Emergency Services Department