Purchasing a helicopter is 'mission critical' for local search and rescue team - East Idaho News

Purchasing a helicopter is ‘mission critical’ for local search and rescue team

  Published at  | Updated at
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready ...

JACKSON, Wyoming — “Mission critical” is a term used by search and rescue teams to indicate a life-threatening scenario that requires the utmost attention to safety and efficiency.

For Teton County Search and Rescue, Mission Critical is also the name they have given their fundraising efforts to purchase a helicopter designated for a search and rescue mission.

“In 2022, TCSAR had 136 calls for service,” Matt Hansen, TCSAR’s communications specialist told EastIdahoNews.com. He noted it was a record-breaking year, outpacing the previous year’s record of 105 calls.

TCSAR has never had a year-round helicopter they could use. Though the agency currently leases its helicopter, which is only available for eight months out of the year, the number of calls continue to increase year-round.

And with 4,216 square miles of backcountry terrain in Teton County, Wyoming, the team often often collaborates with other agencies from Idaho and Montana for rescue operations.

“With the team’s ground response impacted by distance to callouts, traffic congestion and growing recreating public, having a rescue-ready helicopter … can be the difference between life and death,” Teton County Search and Rescue says in a statement to EastIdahoNews.com.

It’s a situation that has stressed the all-volunteer team’s resources, which is why the TCSAR Board of Advisors is raising funds for a new helicopter.

A helicopter is no small purchase. TCSAR estimates that purchasing a helicopter will cost just under $5 million. They are hoping to raise $8 million for the helicopter, training and other expenses related to getting the new program up and running. To date, they have raised over $6 million. Their next fundraising event will be held March 23-26: the World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb, at Snow King Mountain.

Meanwhile, TCSAR would like to remind the public to thoroughly prepare for any outdoor adventure, no matter the time of year. But if you’re ever in trouble, they are ready to answer the call.

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: EastIdahoNews.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.