Injured, Snowed-in Montana Rancher Rescued by Tractor Driving Neighbor

A rancher in Montana came to the rescue in a tractor to save a neighboring rancher who had been injured while working cattle and was stranded from the main road by snow drifts. ( Associated Press )

A rancher in Montana who was injured while working with his cattle on March 6 and was rescued by a neighboring rancher who drove a tractor through snow drifted roads to pick him up.

The Billings Gazette reports that the rescue happened after the rancher was badly injured while handling cattle south of Broadview, Mont. Roads were too heavily drifted with snow for emergency vehicles to arrive at the scene. Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder says that the rancher, who was not named in the report, was also too injured to drive himself out.

Rancher Justin Downs answered the call from Broadview Fire Department to help rescue his neighbor and came with his tractor. At the time snow depth in Yellowstone County was estimated to be between 12 to 17 inches.

“He has pulled people out of the snow banks, and dug people out,” Linder says. “From time to time we run into these things where you can’t get in to them because of the weather conditions and we rely on neighbors to help us out.”

Downs and a medic drove out across snow covered pastures approximately 2 miles from the main road before arriving at the ranch. Upon arriving at the ranch the medic was able to stabilize the injured man in a collar and he was loaded into the tractor. It is estimated to have taken 40 minutes to reach the injured rancher and take him back to first responders who were waiting on the road.

After Downs dropped off his fellow rancher he went back to the ranch to pick up the medic.

Farm and Ranch Safety

While a tragedy was averted thanks to the rescue efforts, this accident serves as an important reminder that safety should be priority when working on farms and ranches.

Each day approximately 100 injuries happen to agricultural workers that result in lost work time, according to data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Unfortunately deaths are not uncommon in agriculture either with 417 people dying in 2016, resulting in a death rate of 21.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. NIOSH indicates the vast majority of these deaths were a result from vehicle rollovers. Farm safety is vital to all farm stakeholders from owners to managers to employees to visitors.

Here are some articles that provide safety tips and resources for farmers and ranchers: