Ore. Deputies Rescue Family in Truck Trapped by 3 Feet of Snow

March 5, 2024
A family of four became stranded southeast of Bend in snowy and frigid conditions, and the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office deployed two search and rescue teams to find them.

A family was rescued after their truck got stuck in 3 feet of snow in below freezing temperatures, Oregon deputies say.

The family got stranded southeast of Bend as snow fell and temperatures read about 18 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, March 3, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Two women, two children ages 4 and 6, and three dogs were trapped in the truck. A passerby, who didn’t know the family, tried to help free them from the snow, deputies said.

When the passerby couldn’t, deputies said they called 911.

“The stranded family had no cell service, no food or water with them,” deputies said.

A deputy tried to call and send text messages to the family, however, none of these attempts went through. One text said “please remain with your vehicle, stay warm, we are on the way,” according to deputies.

As the passerby was unsure of the exact location of the family, deputies said two search and rescue teams with two rescue vehicles scoured the area.

Shortly after 7 p.m., nearly three hours after the initial 911 call, the team found the stranded family, deputies said.

While the family was cold, deputies said they were not hurt.

Deputies said they gave food and water to the family and pets before loading them into the heated Tracked Rescue Vehicle and later escorting them to the Redmond home.

What to do if you get stranded in cold weather

When the body is exposed to prolonged cold temperatures, it starts to lose heat faster than it can produce it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy,” the CDC said. “The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature.”

Low body temperatures can impact the brain and cause people to be unable to move or think clearly. However, the National Weather Service said there are ways to help you stay safe.

If you’re outside in cold weather, find shelter and stay dry. Cover every part of your body that’s exposed to the cold air.

If there’s nowhere to go nearby, build a windbreak or snow cave for protection. You should also continue to move your body to keep blood circulating, but don’t overexert yourself, officials said.

If you get trapped in a vehicle during a storm, officials said you should stay inside it and stay visible to rescuers.

“Run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat,” the National Weather Service said. “While running the motor, open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Clear snow from the exhaust pipe to avoid gas poisoning.”


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