Three American Falls residents were rescued Monday after they became stuck in deep snow and mud on an unmaintained road 23 miles south of Arco.
Steve L. Boles, 46, and Opal A. Jepson, 27, got stuck in their 2003 Ford pickup on Saturday. The following day, the pair got ahold of another American Falls resident, William E. Young, 57, to come assist them but his 1994 Chevy pickup also got stuck.
The three spent more than 24 hours without food or water before they were located in the remote Kimama Desert near Craters of the Moon National Monument.
“These people are incredibly fortunate. It all could have gone so different,” said Chief Deputy Steve Harkins, of the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office, in a written release. “We were fortunate to have favorable weather but we knew there was a storm on the way Tuesday.”
The Idaho Army National Guard, the Blaine County Sheriff Search and Rescue, several other police agencies and a private pilot took part in the search.
The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office received word of the missing people at 4:40 p.m. Sunday. Deputies on ATVs were sent to the area, but because of darkness and the size of the search area, the search had to be called off until daybreak Monday.
Sheriff Gene Ramsey accompanied backcountry pilot Galen Hanselman to the coordinates provided by one of the stranded individual’s phone. An Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter was dispatched from Boise, as well.
Hanselman located the three people at about 1 p.m. and relayed the specific coordinates to the Guard crew. From the air, Ramsey dropped a bag containing emergency food and water on the road near the vehicles.
The National Guard crew rescued Boles, Jepson and Young at 2:30 p.m. and took them to Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey. They were then taken to Blaine County’s public safety facility, where they were reunited with family members.
No one was injured and there were no medical issues among the three people, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The two pickups will remain where they are until conditions allow for their retrieval.
“We are extremely pleased with the successful outcome, but we need to stress that the public should not travel on seasonally unmaintained roads , which can be extremely dangerous for travel at this time of the year,” Harkins said.