Helicopter Called to Rescue a Stranded Front-End Loader

Helicopter Called to Rescue a Trapped Front-End Loader in Yellowstone

Written by on September 12, 2022

With the recent flooding of Yellowstone National Park there was a lot to clean up.  But when the National Park wanted to move a front-end loader that had been stranded on one of the washed-out roads near Gardiner, Montana, they called the Montana National Guard for help.  The Guard responded with a CH-47 Chinook helicopter.

MSgt. Michael Touchette of the Montana National Guard says the Park Service called the Guard for help on August 17th.  The big piece of equipment was stranded “on an island of asphalt” as MSgt. Touchette (public affairs specialist with Montana National Guard) described the area in the north section of the Park that was devastated by floodwaters back in June.

The helicopter and its crew is with the Montana Army National Guard’s 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion.  The only problem was how heavy the front-end loader weighed as it was too heavy for the chopper to lift.

After the Park Service suggested taking off the bucket and tires, the helicopter crew agreed they could lift it.  “The bucket and tires weigh about 5,000 pounds,” said MSgt. Touchette.  After some delays in taking off the tires and bucket, the helicopter crew lifted the piece of equipment and set it down about three-fourths of a mile down the road for, what their Facebook post said, was a “successful sling-load movement.”

In all, the operation took about 10 minutes.


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