Two snowmobilers hurt in same area in 2 days

First tried jump near Moon Mtn.; second struck a tree

BEND, Ore. - A Tigard man whose snowmobile crashed into a tree near Moon Mountain was rescued and taken to a Bend hospital Saturday, the second experienced, out-of-town snowmobiler to crash in the same location in two days, Deschutes County sheriff's deputies said.

Deputies were dispatched around 3:35 p.m. to the reported injury snowmobile crash about 200 yards northeast of the Broken Top Trailhead, west of Bend, said sheriff's Deputy Jeff Winters, assistant Search and Rescue coordinator.

Fellow rider Kevin Murphy of Portland reported his friend, Todd Nelson, 54, of Tigard, had crashed his snowmobile into a tree as he rode with two others.

Two SAR volunteers who were training in the area responded, joined by two U.S. Forest Service personnel who were on routine snowmobile patrol nearby, Winters said.

The first four responders stabilized Nelson while four more SAR volunteers responded to the agency's Bend headquarters, bringing more snowmobiles, medical supplies and rescue gear to the scene.

Nelson was secured into a rescue sled and taken to the Dutchman Flat Sno-Park parking lot. From there, Bend Fire took him to St. Charles-Bend with what Winters termed serious but non-life-threatening injuries. He was listed in fair condition Saturday night, according to a nursing supervisor.

Murphy told deputies Nelson lost control while crossing a trail and his snowmobile struck a tree broadside. Winters said deputies determined alcohol was not a contributing factor in the accident.

In the earlier incident, deputies were dispatched around 1:20 p.m. Friday to the reported injury snowmobile crash about a quarter-mile northeast of Broken Top trailhead, near Moon Mountain, said Deputy Jim Whitcomb, another assistant Search and Rescue coordinator.

The reporting person, fellow rider Collin Nelson of Klamath Falls, said Devon Watson, 29, of Medford, had crashed after attempting a jump during an outing of five snowmobilers.

Two Forest Service officials, a wilderness ranger and a field protection officer, had been patrolling in the Tumalo Mountain area and headed to the scene by snowmobiles, arriving about 20 minutes after the call.

Four Sheriff's Search and Rescue members also headed to the scene on snowmobiles and a rescue sled, while two other SAR volunteers stayed at Dutchman Flat Sno-Park to assist if needed, Whitcomb said.

Medics stabilized Watson at the scene and he was taken to Dutchman Flat, where he was turned over to Bend Fire medics around 5:20 p.m.

The medics took Watson by ambulance to St. Charles-Bend for treatment of what Whitcomb called serious but non-life-threatening injuries. A nursing supervisor said he was in good condition Friday evening and apparently later released after treatment.

An investigation found that Watson had decided to separate from his snowmobile after realizing his jump might not be successful, Whitcomb said.

However, he ended up landing atop the snowmobile after it landed on a snowdrift. Watson then bounced off the snowmobile, landing on the snow beyond.

Nelson said Watson is an experienced snowmobiler, according to Whitcomb, who also said the man was wearing appropriate clothing and gear. Alcohol was not a contributing factor in that crash as well, the deputy added.

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