Missing Man Rescued by Sheriff’s Sno-Cat

Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department:

A man’s life was saved this morning with the help of a new, Measure Z funded snow vehicle.



On February 27, at about 3 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Special Services Team was deployed to Big Hill Rd. in Hoopa to assist the Hoopa Valley Tribal Police Department in a search for a missing man.
The man, a 50-year-old Hoopa resident, left to go snowmobiling in the Big Hill Rd. area around 10 p.m. on February 26. When he did not return home that night, his son reported him missing. Due to the snowy and icy terrain, sheriff’s deputies deployed the Sno-Cat to assist in the search and rescue efforts. The man was located around 7 a.m. approximately 10 miles up Big Hill Rd., spending nearly nine hours in 30 degree temperatures. His snowmobile was found stuck in a deep snow drift. The man was treated for mild hypothermia on scene.

The Sheriff’s Sno-Cat was purchased last fall with a portion of Measure Z’s public safety funding. This was the Sno-Cat’s first deployment. It effectively helped to save a life, cutting down rescue time and enabling a quick response. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the community for investing in public safety with Measure Z, allowing our deputies to better serve and protect this county….The purchase of Sheriff’s Sno-Cat vehicle was also made possible through funds from Measure S and private fundraising through the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Posse.



  • Why would one be out to snowmobile at 10pm? If the sheriff had a snowmobile this rescue could have been done in 1/2 the time and 1/4 the cost.

  • Snowmobiling at 10pm? Alone? Now that is one smart cookie indeed!!! NOT!! I don’t think he was “Moonshining” at night? In the Snow?
    Thank Goodness to Measure Z Funding and Thank Goodness his Joy ride at 10pm didn’t end up a disaster for his family.
    Tribal Police, who do you turn to for help.? Good Old Boys of Humboldt County Sheriff’s Dept!!

  • PinkAsso, you only need 10 ft of dry pavement and that snowmobile is fkd. That Cat can go over a snowy mountain and back onto dry on the other side if needed, which is what happens in the hills. Yesterday on my ATV I went from 12 inches to dirt in under 2 minutes of travel. Also, do you want to transport a hypothermia victim 10 miles on a snow mobile or in a heated cab?

  • >”Snowmobiling at 10pm? Alone ?”

    Coastal snow usually turns better at night… good.
    Alone… not so good.

  • A good snowmobile costs a penny compared to that tank, and the money “required” to buy, and now forever maintain, the snow-tank could have been much better spent. An analysis of how much Measure Z money has been given to “law enforcement” coupled with future maintenance/hire costs would proove eye opening. Measure Z money will be spoken for in no time, and there will be no chance of its revision. Another permanent temporary tax.

    • Oh yeah, so much maintenance.. like an annual oil change and some grease. Would you rather our search and rescue posse(volunteers by the way) have snow shoes instead? It snows heavily around here, often unpredictably, so yes they need this piece of equipment. Hope you never get stuck out in the snow, but I’m sure you’re waaay to smart for that.

      • yes, hopefully way smarter than that, like not going out alone at 10pm on a snowmobile in a heavily snowed in area that is unpredictable to boot!!! too bad the snowmobiler didn’t have a spare set of snow shoes, right? 😉 He might have made it back before the “Posse” headed out!! Good thing his son had common sense to call before daybreak to get help for him.

      • Not the point. Look at an itemized list of Measure Z money allocations, now into the future, and ask yourself if that’s what YOU voted to pay for, indefinitely.

        • I get the feeling *you* didn’t vote for it. But yes I’m happy with that purchase, and I don’t really bother with nitpicking every purchase the county needs to make. I’ve got better things to do.. but yeah, taxes are the price we pay for civilization. I’m glad we can afford a newish sno cat for the search and rescue posse

          • Sorry, but it’s shady to put a tax measure on the ballot that turns out to be an ulterior motive for more departmental spending. Like I said, look at a list of allocations. The “emergency” money will all be spoken for indefinitely, leaving no room for emergency, and we will be taxed on top of another tax, again. Kudos to the rescue squad, but coulda been done quicker and cheaper with a snowmobile.

      • Can we get a cost analysis break down? something tells me moving the snow cat to a location cost more than moving snow mobiles and their maintenance combine. Then we have the thought of a ‘posse’ of snow mobiles or a single machine with a couple of peoples.
        I don’t like the open end bill that tax payers end up footing. Does the family have to pay a rescue bill? I think that is in order when a person goes out doing something foolish. I loved skiing and snowmobiling at night but common sense calls that you don’t take off alone. So yeah, glad the guy is safe back with his family but now is the time for him to pay the bill for the rescue.

  • I support measure Z.

  • You guys are a bunch of fkn morons. I live in the back country snowed in for the better of 6 months on an average year. This is the only machine that can handle multiple persons response in every situation of mixed snow / dry pavement. Stay in your easy chair and second guess Garaffalo next season, you will look smarter. Winter rescue is specialized for both victim and rescuer, try a night in minus 47 with a guy who fell through the ice, I did naked and fell up to my knees in that. He only lost a foot and his nose. I took 3 weeks to find out I kept my feet and fingers but almost lost my lungs, that was a month. If you live in TrinCo, consider yourself lucky, because they didn’t even consider my app for wilderness rescue, so they are way more ready for that. In HumCo, you are fucked without this machine. Live in TrinCo, they got it all wired.

    • Makes you wonder how society has survived around here forever without a snow tank, right? On a fixed income, the county is making it impossible to keep up. And in rural areas it’s ass backwards to be jacking everybody’s cost of living. It’s gone way up over the last ten years and is about to go up substantially more. I support the police, literally, but family first. How about every police officer give up a few bucks out of a few of their own paychecks to buy stuff like that? Let’s guage their own enthusiasm if they, and they alone, have to foot the bill for high tech gadgetry only they ask for.

      • Wrong.. they had an old sno cat before. It broke down all the time. I was with them one time on a rescue, and we had to walk out after finding the victim. Luckily it had packed down the snow and left a easy hike out. I’m guessing you don’t get out to the mountains very often? It’s a different world out there. And people need to be rescued sometimes.. or should we just let them curl up in a ball and freeze to death?

    • Yes. Snow cats are essential for back country rescue. And with 3-5 feet of mountain snow this week, I’m sure they will be using it. Thing is, many parts of this county get zero snow ever, so it’s hard for these armchair genius’s to imagine what it’s like in the mountains. Hope everybody stays safe.

  • Ride it like u stole it

    On April 13, 2017 at approximately 3:15 AM, a flat bed tow truck, owned by Buddy’s Auto Center, was a completing a service call on Hwy 96 north of Hoopa in Humboldt County. The tow truck was carrying a Dodge pickup and pulling an enclosed trailer containing two snowmobiles.

    The driver of the tow truck stopped for a chainsaw that was in the roadway and was confronted by two subjects reported as carrying firearms. One of the subjects discharged a round from a handgun and demanded the occupants of the tow truck get out.

    The suspects were described as wearing dark clothing and dark masks. The tow truck driver and passenger complied and were unharmed.

    The suspects got into the tow truck and fled the scene traveling southbound on Hwy 96 towards Hoopa.

    The California Highway Patrol and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department responded personnel to the scene. At approximately 8:30 AM, a US Forest Service crew reported having located the tow truck, which was on fire, on upper Mill Creek Rd. California Highway Patrol officers responded to the scene on Mill Creek Rd.

    The tow truck and Dodge pick-up were recovered. The tow truck sustained fire damage. The trailer and snowmobiles are still missing.

    Anyone with information is requested to contact the California Highway Patrol.
    Trailer Information : 2007 Haulmark 6×10 fully enclosed trailer, black with chrome wheel wells, California License plate 4KR8700
    Snowmobile #1 : 2011 Skidoo Snowmobile Summit Everest 800, black, License plate 24HE95
    Snowmboile #2 : information pending

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