Mont. Search and Rescue Member Dies During Training

Cameron M. Goins, 47, died after his snowmobile struck a tree.


Jan. 21--Cameron Mitchell Goins, the 47-year-old Libby man who died Saturday morning after crashing his snowmobile while on a training exercise, will be remembered as a caring, unselfish volunteer.

"He was a great volunteer," said Terry Crooks, the mountain unit supervisor for the David Thompson Search & Rescue team. "He was a guy who was doing what he wanted to do. They don't get paid for this. These volunteers go out there to help train other people. They're unselfish."

Crooks, a volunteer for 30-plus years, said the accident was freakish.

"He was wearing a helmet, and no, he wasn't speeding," Crooks said. "He just drifted off the trail and hit a tree. It was a freak thing."

Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe, who wasn't part of the training exercise but was later called to the scene, said he could see no reason for the accident.

"There was no head injury," Bowe said. "He's a volunteer. This county depends on volunteers for search and rescue, ambulance, fire protection, so very much. It's sad."

Goins, along with a group of other snowmobilers, were headed up the Keeler Creek drainage south of Troy toward an avalanche training area when the accident occurred. According to Crooks, it was about an eight-mile ride to the training area. The accident happened about 3? miles in.

"He was a high-quality rider," Crooks said. "He was not inexperienced."

Members of David Thompson Search & Rescue and CANAM Search and Rescue were to take part in a joint avalanche preparedness training exercise in the Bear Mountain area on Saturday. After the accident, the training was cancelled, and Crooks said a date has not been rescheduled.

The joint-agency training also was to involve members of search and rescue teams from Sanders and Boundary counties, in addition to personnel from the U.S. Forest Service and other volunteer members of the community.

Troy dispatchers were notified of the accident at 9:50 a.m. and were told that medically trained personnel already were at the scene of the accident, requested an air ambulance response and began CPR.

The Alert Helicopter of Kalispell was launched to respond, while the Troy Volunteer Ambulance and Advance Life Support personnel responded to the scene from Troy.

A member of the rescue team was taken up the drainage by snowmobile to meet the patient, but Goins was declared dead at 10:33 a.m.

Bowe responded to the scene with Sheriff's Office Detective Nate Scofield. U.S. Forest Service investigators also responded to the scene.

Goins had been a member of David Thompson Search & Rescue for two years, and was an active member of the Snowmobile Unit, ATV Unit and Mountain Unit.

"Cameron Goins was a dedicated community volunteer and will always be remembered and have a place within David Thompson Search and Rescue, and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his family," Bowe said.

Copyright 2014 - The Western News, Libby, Mont.