The Albany County Sheriff’s Office says three Colorado residents who were lost in the Snowy Range Mountains were found and rescued, thanks to the efforts of a search and rescue team.

According to a release from the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, the sheriff’s office received a report on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. that the three Colorado residents were overdue while snowmobiling in the Snowy Range Mountains, however the caller had limited information on their whereabouts.

Search teams consisting of Albany County Deputies and Albany County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteers were assembled and began searching at sunrise the next day, Feb. 21.

At about 1 p.m., the sheriff’s office was told that one member of the lost party had contacted a family member using a cell phone. Deputies told the man how to access his GPS on his cell phone. Using his GPS coordinates, the sheriff’s office was able to determine he was near the Quealy warming hut on the “N” trial in the Snowy Range Mountains. The Carbon County Sheriff’s Office also received a broken 911 call from the man, who said he was trying to walk to the warming hut, but was concerned he wouldn’t survive because of the depth of the snow and the extremely cold temperatures.

The sheriff’s office deployed a Tucker snow cat around 2:30 a.m. to search for the missing man. At about 3:30 a.m. he was found in good health, but extremely cold.

The man told deputies that his party had some mechanical issues with one of the snowmobiles, and the other had gotten stuck in the deep snow. The other two riders in his party rode double on the remaining snowmobile back to the Green Rock parking area, while he stayed behind with the disabled snowmobiles. He said when his companions didn’t return by midnight, he tried to walk to the warming hut one and half miles away.

The search teams had located the other two snowmobilers at 11 a.m. on Wednesday near the “O” trail near Twin Lakes and escorted them back to the parking area. They had become disoriented and had taken a wrong turn while heading back to the parking area. The two told deputies they dug a snow cave and made a fire to survive the night.

The sheriff’s office said it is important that the public be aware of the dangers of snowmobiling in the Snowy Range and the importance of having a plan and sticking to it and always being prepared for the worst. They recommend all riders carry a backpack with a GPS, trail maps, several ways to start a fire, water, food and extra dry clothing. The sheriff’s office also says if a person becomes lost, the best plan is to stay together with the machine, make a shelter and a fire and stay put, saying it’s extremely risky to walk deep distances in the snow.

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