Missing snowmobiler found alive

---YAKIMA SHERIFF'S NEWS RELEASE--- Search and Rescue teams from the Sheriff's Office continued the search for a 68 year old snowmobiler from East Valley throughout the night and early morning of the 6th and 7th. The missing man was located at approximately 0300 hours Saturday morning in the South Fork of the Ahtanum Drainage. Mr. Hayes was found alive and was transported by snow mobile rescue teams to the Ahtanum Snow Park and then transferred to an ambulance. Mr. Hayes was transported to Yakima Memorial Hospital for treatment of exposure and possible frost bite.

Search teams were searching the area and yelling for the subject when they heard the subject yelling for help. He was located in a tree well near the South Fork of the Ahtanum Creek. A tree well is formed when falling snow is kept by branches from reaching the base of a tree. This forms an open area under the branches which can be several feet deep and dangerous. Mr. Hayes told searchers that he had been traveling downhill about 1300 hours Thursday when his snowmobile dropped into a tree well and he became stuck. He was able to get the machine unstuck but once it got on flat ground he got away from him and dropped into another tree well and he was unable to get it out. Tired he was able to start a fire but could not maintain it for lack of fuel.

Search Teams from the Sheriff's Office were assisted by snowmobile units from the West Valley Fire Department and a helicopter from the King County Sheriff's Office. There were a total of 35 volunteers and paid personnel that participated in the search.