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Missing Whitefish snowmobiler found dead in Canyon Creek area

Hagadone News Network | December 21, 2022 1:00 AM

A snowmobiler reported missing Dec. 13 after failing to return from an outing in the Canyon Creek area was found dead by a search and rescue team shortly before sunset Wednesday.

Officials with the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office said Charles Kind, 87, of Whitefish was located in the South Fork Canyon Creek area of the Whitefish Range near the Trumbull Creek drainage about 4 p.m., Dec. 14. His snowmobile was still running, authorities said.

Officials launched a coordinated search effort, which saw the Sheriff’s Office work with Flathead County and North Valley search and rescues as well as Two Bear Air, after Kind failed to return at 2 p.m. on Dec. 13 as expected. Authorities later located his truck and trailer in the Canyon Creek parking lot.

About 30 searchers were combing the area by midday Wednesday in winter weather that left air assets limited, said Sheriff Brian Heino at the time.

Despite the poor conditions, a Two Bear Air crew spotted a snowmobile in the South Canyon area, authorities said. A member of the team went down for closer inspection and found Kind.

Two Bear Air hoisted Kind up and took him to Glacier Park International Airport, where they turned him over to county coroners, officials said.

Cause and manner of death remain under investigation.

“Our hearts go out to the family members affected by this incident,” read a statement issued by the Sheriff’s Office.

During the search effort, rescuers ended up aiding a separate group of people that suffered injuries while snowmobiling in the area, authorities said.

Officials with the Sheriff’s Office thanked the volunteer groups that aided in the effort in a statement.

“It is these professional volunteers that allow Flathead County to provide the needed response for the remote environments for those recreating in Flathead County,” the statement read.