North Sound News

NAS Whidbey helicopter crew rescues two men in separate snowmobile crashes

A Snohomish County man learned his emergency locator beacon didn’t work in the worst moment possible; after a horrific snowmobile crash in the snowy vastness of Mount Baker.

"Hit a bad chunk of snow and the sled, with all that force, just rolled, just faster than you can think, snapped my leg,” said Kirk LeDoux in an interview with KIRO 7 from his hospital bed at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

LeDoux, who said he’s no stranger to the slopes of Mount Baker, told us he crashed as he snowmobiled with two friends who were close by but didn’t see him go down.

He was able to radio his friends, who then tried to use emergency locator beacons, without any luck.

“We tried for like an hour to get it to work,” said LeDoux. “And that was pretty horrific.”

Luckily, LeDoux said they were able to call for help by cellphone. He said about a dozen strangers came to help.

A rescue team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island showed up several hours later and hoisted LeDoux to safety.

It was one of two unrelated snowmobile rescues Sunday, several hours apart, performed by a rescue team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Both rescues happened near each other in the Schriebers Meadow area on Mount Baker.

LeDoux, who said he never lost consciousness, told KIRO 7 his mind did drift to the worst.

"I've got little kids and a wife and I definitely – ran across my mind that I knew where I was at, and I knew that when you have a pretty traumatic injury like that, you know, it could end up bad,” said LeDoux. "I really felt like all those guys pulled together and saved my life."

He was flown to a hospital in Bellingham and later airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

"A rod all the way down to my ankle,” said LeDoux, describing his leg injury.

LeDoux said the Navy rescue team then turned around and went back to Mount Baker after dropping him off at the hospital.

"The corpsman said, ‘Hey I got to go, I just got a call; another guy just broke his leg on the same mountain,’” said LeDoux.

LeDoux, a pilot, is already planning to say thank to the team who rescued him.

"I offered them steaks and beers,” said LeDoux. “When I get better."

More news from KIRO 7