Shortly after 3:00 pm on Thursday, Pennington County Search and Rescue was notified of a missing person near the Wyoming & South Dakota state line. He had gone out early on Monday to gather firewood and had not been heard from since.
The first day he was out, his vehicle became stuck. He used it to stay warm until it ran out of fuel Wednesday morning. Cell service being poor in that area, he could not make phone calls and could not reliable text, but he was finally able to get enough signal to send a single, short text message for help before his phone battery died.
When that message was received, authorities were promptly notified. Information from his text was combined with the cell data to give a starting point for the search. Historical data from his cell phone provider helped narrow the search down to a radius of about 20 miles from a particular cell tower, but that was still a vast area.
All responders were hindered by the recent snow accumulation, ranging from about three inches in the south to nearly 48 inches north of the search area. Resources from Weston County, Custer County, and Pennington County orchestrated the extensive search, and the man was located by Pennington County Search and Rescue around 8:00 pm that evening.
After an extraction by snowcat, he was transferred to Hill City Ambulance for further medical attention and transport to the hospital. Custer County Search and Rescue, Custer County Sheriff’s Office, Custer County Dispatch, Hill City Ambulance, Hill City Fire, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Pennington County Dispatch, and Weston County responders all contributed to this successful search and rescue.