Footsteps lead rescuers to missing snowmobiler

Footsteps lead rescuers to missing snowmobiler

A Rathdrum man who was stranded overnight inside the Coeur d’Alene National Forest is back home after rescuers located him Friday Morning.

Frederick Goodwin, 62, suffered onset hypothermia and received medical treatment at the scene.

“He got separated from his group and he couldn’t see because it was near whiteout conditions and he overshot the trail he was trying to get to,” said Kootenai County Backcountry Search and Rescue Deputy Jeff Burns, who located Goodwin.

He and several volunteers searched until 3 a.m. Friday morning but had to stop due to poor visibility. The search continued at 7 a.m. and Goodwin was found hours later, 15 miles deep inside the forest.

“We could faintly see his tracks through the snow, and we just tracked him down basically, we rode in there about a mile and there he was,” Burns said.

Snowmobiling is a popular pastime in Kootenai County, and Friday’s rescue serves as an important reminder to be prepared, because things can go wrong, whether it be an equipment malfunction, an accident, or a medical emergency.

Lifelong snowmobiler Jacob Adams rents out snowmobiles from his shop, Summer Snow Outfitters. He makes sure all of his customers are well prepared for the unexpected.

That includes proper knowledge, skills, and equipment to be able to travel safely in winter in a backcountry environment.

Riding alone is never a good idea. Always travel with a group, wear plenty of warm, waterproof clothes, and always know where you are.

“Everything out here in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest kind of looks the same, so that’s why it’s important that you have your map, and you keep your group together and be cohesive,” said Adams.

Officials say the 62-year-old was well prepared. He had plenty of warm snow gear, made a bed out of branches to insulate himself from the snow, and stayed in the same location. That decision likely saved his life, and made it easier for rescuers to find him before it was too late.