National Guard Rescues 140 Trapped Campers

Floating bears also a problem in Montana floods
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 22, 2018 4:22 AM CDT
National Guard Rescues 140 Trapped Campers
Middle school students from the Montana Wilderness School of the Bible, attending a Bible camp along the Rocky Mountain Front, are guided onto a Chinook helicopter Thursday, June 21, 2018.   (Montana Army National Guard via AP)

Helicopters rescued people stranded as severe storms swept the Rockies and the Midwest, including 140 children and counselors stuck in a mountain Bible camp for two days. Campers attending the Montana Wilderness School of the Bible near the small town of Augusta were lifted out Thursday after a washed-out road cut off the only exit, the AP reports. Montana was just drying out from spring flooding caused by near-record snowfall over the winter when a storm unleashed rain over the past three days. Floodwaters running through two cabins and staff housing woke up the Montana campers Tuesday, counselor Dustin Steele says. They had enough food and supplies to stay until Friday but the decision was made to get them out.

The Montana Army National Guard flew in two Chinook helicopters and made two trips each with about 30 campers and their luggage, Steele says. The mother of one of the campers, Teresa Lane, had an adventure of her own when she and her 9-year-old daughter spotted a grizzly bear that had been swept away by a fast-running creek on her ranch near Augusta. "I thought it was a dead cow originally—it was something big and black and floating," Lane says. "Then it flipped around, and it looked at me, and I said, 'Tiffany, it's a bear!'" She and her daughter followed the bear for about a quarter-mile as it tried to get out. When it finally did, it limped and appeared agitated before running away. "It was not a happy camper," she says.

(More flooding stories.)

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