Posted: Dec 21, 2012 7:46 PM by Meteorologist Mike Heard
Updated: Dec 21, 2012 8:56 PM
On Friday around 5:30, the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office along with Search and Rescue, rescued a trapped fisherman on the Gallatin River. Officials say the fisherman became trapped when a ice dam broke upstream causing a large surge of water, ice, and debris to sweep through the area.
The flooding ice and water created a new channel in the river that effectively left the fisherman stranded on an island. The fisherman could not cross the fast flowing water and debris to safety.
According to a press release, search and rescue members trained in whitewater rescue responded with safety lines and flotation gear, which they were able to throw to the fisherman. After securing himself with the equipment, the fisherman was able to walk through the rushing water to a nearby bank.
Gallatin County says they received several reports of rising river levels down stream into the valley and some associated debris but at the time of the report there was no damage or conditions to warrant concern.
Cliff Abraham submitted this video of the Gallatin River south of Big Sky around 4:30pm Friday afternoon showing a rush of high water. Large chunks of ice along with floating logs and debris can be seen in the video. The viewer estimated the river came up several feet in a very short amount of time.
There is no official report but Chief Meteorologist Mike Heard believes this was most likely the result of an ice jam breaking up above Big Sky. As the ice jam breaks up the dammed up water behind the ice jam rushes downstream picking up debris and forcing river levels to rise quickly.
The Gallatin River is prone to ice jamming during the colder winter months especially just above Big Sky.
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