Deputy Brian Thompson was battling flu and fever today. That didn't stop him from helping a snowmobiler who was stranded in water and ice on a trail off Wilkinson Road in East Pembroke.
Genesee County dispatchers got the 9-1-1 call about 2:30 this afternoon of a snowmobiler swamped in water near a creek and Deputy Thompson was the first on scene.
Using the GPS signal from the snowmobiler's phone, Thompson was able to position himself 575 feet south of the scene. After about 10 minutes of plowing through waist-deep snow, and a half mile later, Thompson spotted the 30 year old male rider standing on a small island next to a tree. His snowmobile was up to its windshield in water.
Deputy Thompson was able to guide him back to the trail and onto the road where an ambulance was waiting. Hypothermia was a concern after being in the cold creek water and frigid temperatures for 45 minutes. Mercy Medic ambulance crews checked the rider over and he was released at the scene.
The snowmobile had to be removed before nightfall to keep the trail safe for other riders.
Rising creek waters made the ice thin and the area swamp-like near the trail. Riders need to be aware of trail conditions each day.
Thompson says this rider was lucky. He says it's important to remember some basic snowmobiling rules that could save your life. Never drink and ride, travel in pairs, never alone, slow down, and always be aware that trails change from day to day.
Thompson says, "This young man had just been on the trail yesterday, and again this just shows how fast conditions can change. He was confident the trail would be OK today, and it wasn't."