Minnesota deputies use snowmobiles to conduct blizzard rescues

Sheriff’s departments across the region were busy rescuing stranded motorists and snowmobilers Sunday as blizzard conditions swept through.

“This is not normal. We don’t see this this often,” said Scotty Finnegan, of the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office. “Not only are our lakes blown over, but our roadways are too.”

With plenty of snow to blow around, the men of the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office made rescues the safest way they know how: by snowmobile. 

“It makes it more mobile, makes us able to get into areas we couldn’t get to otherwise to be able to help people,” added Sgt. Kyle Puelston, of Chisago County.

Sunday alone, this crew received at least a dozen calls and made a minimum of three rescues.

“We have come across many stranded motorists that have went out on our local lakes getting stuck trying to pull their ice houses off or trying to go ice fishing,” said Finnegan.

On the sled, these rescue measures are uncommon, even in Minnesota.

Last year, Finnegan estimates only two snowmobile rescues occurred.

Mostly, the Sheriff’s Office wants everyone to play it safe when recreating outdoors in conditions like these.

“Stay home,” Puelston said. “Let this stuff blow over. Our plow trucks are going to go out tomorrow morning and clear the roads, ‘cause it could be fine in one stretch of road and you come around the corner another drift’s there and, before you know it, you’re stuck.”