Snowmachiners rescued near Lost Lake

Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Two snowmachiners trapped by weather conditions near Seward on Sunday were rescued by the combined efforts of police, fire and aerial rescue teams from Bear Creek, Moose Pass and the Seward Volunteer Ambulance Corps, as well as troopers and the U.S. Forest Service.

Around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, troopers received a 911 call reporting two men who were stranded near Lost Lake. Mario Toro, 37, of Anchorage, and his friend Nathan Seward, 28, of Anchorage, had been snowmachining in deteriorating weather. Toro, who had become separated from Harrison, spoke to him by cell phone and discovered that Harrison's snowmachine had broken down. After giving Toro his position, Harrison said that he would wait for Toro there, but Toro also became stuck in the snow and it became dark.

Toro called 911 at this point, informing the dispatch center of both his and Harrison's positions. He then dug a snow cave and waited for assistance. Neither of the men had any survival equipment.

At 1:30 a.m. Monday, ground searchers on snowmachines found Toro uninjured. However, they were unable to continue on toward Harrison's location due to heavy snowfall.

At daylight, the rescue crew donned snowshoes and took a snowmachine as well but the heavy snow still hampered their progress. At first, they were unable to use a helicopter because of the weather, but the Alaska State Troopers helicopter arrived on the scene at about noon.

Harrison was located at approximately 12:30 p.m. by the helicopter, which ferried a snowshoe team to his location.

The snowshoe team broke a trail to Harrison and assisted him out, cold and tired but uninjured.

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