Outdoors

Teens rescue stricken hunters

Men were unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning

BUTTE, Mont. — Three Montana hunters who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping in a wall tent with a propane heater are recovering at a Salt Lake City hospital thanks to some young family members.

Sheri Cook of Missoula said five teenage boys who were hunting with their fathers and grandfather in the Lima area pulled the men out of the tent Monday morning and called for help.

“They saved their lives — they’re heroes,” Cook told The Montana Standard in an interview from LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. “They really knew what they were doing.”

Randy Cook, 44, of Missoula; Bret Butler, 50, of Frenchtown; and Carl Saunders, 65, of Frenchtown were upgraded from critical to serious condition Tuesday, LDS Hospital spokesman Jess Gomez said.

The hunting party arrived at the camp site at the East Fork of Little Sheep Creek trailhead in southwestern Montana on Sunday evening, put up their tents and went to sleep, Beaverhead County Sheriff Jay Hansen said.

The men were in a wall tent with a propane heater, and the boys, ranging in age from 13 to 16, were in another tent with a wood stove for heat. When the boys woke up, they found the men unconscious, Hansen said.

Sheri Cook said one of the boys drove to where he could get a cell phone signal and call for help while the other four stayed and pulled the men out of the tents. Two of the men were vomiting and the boys wiped out their mouths to clear their airways, she said.

Sheri Cook said her twin 14-year-old sons said they were scared at first but then fell back on skills they learned in Boy Scouts.

“Each had their little instances of panic, but they all knew what needed to be done,” she said.


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Rich Landers

Rich Landers

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