FISH LAKE — Four separate snowmobile accidents Thursday kept Lake Wenatchee Fire and Rescue volunteers busy from noon until about 10 p.m.
“It’s unusual for a Thursday,” Lake Wenatchee Fire and Rescue Chief Mick Lamar said Friday morning, but not completely unexpected given the timing between the holidays and at least 18 inches of new snow that fell Thursday and overnight Friday.
“Up until yesterday, people had been going up higher. This is the first time they’ve really been able to snowmobile in the valley. Some are renting snowmobiles. Some are novice riders and the conditions were extreme. That’s a combination that can catch you,” he said.
The first call arrived about noon, to a residence.
“Someone was learning to drive a snow machine and smacked a tree. They weren’t hurt very bad,” Lamar said, but were transported by private vehicle for medical care.
The other three calls involved people who weren’t entirely sure where they were.
“If there’s one recommendation, make sure you know where you are,” Lamar said
A family headed toward Sugar Loaf ran into trouble near Alder Creek. The call for help came in around 2:18 p.m.
“They were able to get cell service to call, but weren’t sure where they were at. They had some general landmarks that they had passed by or were near,” he said.
The third call, to the air strip near the Lake Wenatchee Rec Center on Chiwawa Loop Road, came in at 2:47 p.m.
“A young lady fell off the snow machine and needed assistance,” he said. “They knew they were on the airstrip, but weren’t sure of east or west.”
The fourth call was up toward Snowcone, about 4 miles from the snow park at Fish Lake. It was reported about 4:51 p.m. after a group noticed a couple riders were missing.
Lamar said the missing duo was spotted by another group who investigated a scuff mark on the edge of a slope, looked over and spotted the two riders. They then had to go back to get cell service and lead in rescuers.
“It took about three hours to get both patients out, using toboggans,” Lamar said.
The riders were transported to Central Washington Hospital.
That call alone included 20 to 25 rescuers, a combination of firefighters and members of the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Emergency Management and Cascade Ambulance.
“The good news is everyone was taken care of,” he said.
Lamar said he expects that could just be the start of a busy weekend.
A second dumping of snow and possible rain was expected Friday night and Saturday.
“We got the equipment cleaned up and serviced for the next round,” he said. “We’re chained up and ready to go.”