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Rescuers help stranded rafters near House Rock on the Gallatin River

Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue
Posted at 5:01 PM, Jun 06, 2024

BOZEMAN — Some stranded rafters got a little help from Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue (GCSSAR) after their raft capsized downstream from the Lava Lake trailhead on Highway 191 Wednesday night, June 5, 2024.

According to a press release, the group of four rafters was attempting a second run on the "Mad Mile," a whitewater section of the Gallatin River near House Rock, around 8 p.m. on Wednesday. The group contacted Gallatin County 911 about 30 minutes later to report they had capsized and two of the rafters were stranded on the eastern bank, away from the highway.

The release said the rafters couldn't cross the fast-moving water and had lost their shoes in the river. Three GCSSAR volunteers worked their way downstream on the east bank from a bridge near Lava Lake trailhead. They met the stranded rafters, medically evaluated them, and provided them with shoes before guiding them out to safety.

WATCH RELATED: Tips to stay safe on Montana rivers as spring runoff picks up

Tips to stay safe on Montana rivers as spring runoff picks up

Sheriff Dan Springer shared these reminders when recreating on early-season waters that can be more turbulent and difficult to navigate:

Whenever possible, it is beneficial to scout your intended float, noting hazards as well as possible escape/extraction routes. Always wear a personal flotation device, and a helmet. Finally, (as much as the river allows), have clothing and supplies appropriate not just for the float itself, but for self-extraction by land or a possibly long wait on the riverbank for rescue.