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Contact: Melissa Wilson, 406-888-7895
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Officials at Glacier National Park report that a female visitor, Rhonda Stevens, missing since Thursday, June 14, was spotted and rescued around 5 p.m. today, June 15, by the crew of one of the responding helicopters. Stevens indicated that she was not seriously injured and declined medical treatment on scene.
Stevens, 48, from Columbia Falls, Mont., and a male companion entered the park at the Walton Ranger Station on Wednesday, June 13. The two had traveled into the Park Creek Drainage to hike to Battlement Mountain. While hiking off-trail through tall brush, the pair became separated.
The incident was reported to the park’s dispatch center this morning at 9 a.m. by the hiking partner. He indicated he had been last seen Stevens on Thursday around 3 p.m. near the Rotunda Cirque. He had searched unsuccessfully for her for several hours the preceding evening.
Glacier park staff, drawn in from across the park and from several divisions, immediately began the search, conducted by air and by foot. The search was also an interagency effort and included: Customs and Border Protection Air Operations from Great Falls; U.S. Border Patrol from Whitefish, Mont.; Flathead Search and Rescue; the U.S. Forest Service; and Minute Man Helicopter. Their assistance contributed to the successful resolution of this incident.
Stevens was located on a "saddle" in the area between Mount St. Nicholas and Striped Elk Lake. The helicopter was able to land near Stevens and transported her back to West Glacier.
Officials recommend that visitors not hike alone in the park. Group members should stay together and each person should be equipped with essential survival equipment. Party members should also discuss contingency plans for regrouping in the event that anyone becomes separated.