Variety of accidents keep first responders busy

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Glacier National Park’s latest news release advised, in a phrase approaching understatement, that park rangers and emergency response personnel “are responding to a significant number of incidents this week.”

Around noon Wednesday, a cyclist on the Going-to-the-Sun Road swerved and fell off his bike to avoid colliding with a bear, believed to be a grizzly, that was running out of trees along the road in the vicinity of St. Mary Falls.

The 60-year-old cyclist briefly lost consciousness, the park reported, and his injuries required eventual transport by ALERT helicopter. A passing motorist with a paramedic certification provided care and a Red Bus driver also offered assistance, according to the news release.

Earlier that day, park rangers and an ALERT helicopter responded to an employee of a horseback riding outfitter after she was “thrown from a new horse and trampled at the Many Glacier horse corral.” The park said the woman is in stable condition.

Late Tuesday afternoon, a car crash on the Going-to-the-Sun Road closed the road about 1 mile east of Apgar for more than two hours. The vehicle’s driver reportedly fell asleep and drifted off the road. The park said trees likely prevented the car from traveling into Lake McDonald. Four of the vehicle’s six occupants were taken to the hospital by ambulance, the park said.

Traffic was stopped at the West Entrance Station heading east, and westbound traffic was stopped at the scene of the accident. Traffic backed up past Lake McDonald Lodge towards Avalanche Creek, more than 10 miles, the park said.

Two other minor motor vehicle accidents were reported during that time.

Late Wednesday, Glacier asked for the public’s help in locating a missing Whitefish man, Mark Sinclair, 66. The park said he was last seen Monday around 2:30 p.m. on the Highland Trail at Rimrocks headed west. Sinclair had left an unsecured vehicle, keys and a dog in the Logan Pass parking lot. He was said to be wearing all gray or nondescript clothing.

On Monday, around 5 p.m. the park responded to a report of a vehicle 40 feet down an embankment off the Going-to-the-Sun Road near Packer’s Roost, several miles below the Loop. The vehicle had swerved to avoid another car stopped in the roadway to view a bear along the road. Park rangers performed a technical rescue for the people in the motor vehicle. Park sawyers cut down a number of trees so that a tow truck could remove the vehicle.

The three occupants of the car that went off the embankment were transported to the hospital in stable condition, two via ambulance and one via ALERT helicopter.

Also around 5 p.m. on Monday, park rangers responded to a call at Lake Josephine for a visitor who suffered an open ankle fracture after falling from a horse. Rescuers carried the patient to the trailhead, where an ALERT helicopter met them to take the injured rider to the hospital.

During these two incidents, the park also responded to a report of an infant locked in a car, two missing parties, a bear struck by a car on U.S. 2 outside the park, a DUI arrest in Many Glacier, and an abandoned dog at Logan Pass Visitor Center.

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