Woman shares experience of flight rescue after serious injury in West Yellowstone snowmobiling accident

Flight crew shares what they do to help save lives
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Posted at 4:58 PM, Apr 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-26 16:22:21-04

Angela Norby was rescued by Air Idaho Rescue in West Yellowstone after suffering a snowmobiling accident in January. Norby spoke with MTN News from her home in Minnesota about the recent accident in West Yellowstone with her family.

“Apparently, I did hit a bump hard enough where when I did, obviously I didn't break, I gave it full open gas and went off to the right, right into the tree,” says Norby, "My husband was shaking me and trying to get me to respond to him," says Norby, "and when I did respond to him, I guess I had told him that I was blind at the time.”

Norby says she owes her life to Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue and the Air Idaho Rescue crew for getting her to the hospital after she suffered serious injuries including lung collapse, a brain bleed, broken ribs, and a fractured spine.

“Even if I don't remember what happened in those flights or in those ambulance rides, even if I don't remember, my heart will always remember,” says Norby.

WATCH: Life Flight Network reenacts response to emergency call

WATCH: Life Flight reenacts response to emergency call

MTN News spoke with local air rescue network, Life Flight Network, about what it it's like responding to emergency calls. It is an emergency flight crew located in Belgrade, Montana. Flight paramedic, Steve Schmid, says they spend a lot of time training to respond to calls like Norby's.

“We're highly trained. We are ready to go. We're here 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days,” says Schmid. “We can do anything from helping to locate lost hikers to going in and landing in the backcountry and, you know, stabilizing and securing somebody having a heart attack.”

Life Flight Network works closely with EMS, law enforcement, and search and rescue partners, including the Hebgen Basin Fire District in West Yellowstone to transport patients to where they need to go.

West Yellowstone Fire Chief Shane Grube says, “All of our calls primarily down here are significant trauma. Snowmobiler versus tree is probably our number one.”

The Life Flight Crew determines where to take each patient depending on distance and type of injury. Schmid says they are the bridge between the scene of the accident and the hospital.

“Distance would be the biggest thing," says Schmid. "So if it is close to the state line or just over the state line or somewhere like that, EIRMC is a level two. They do have a lot of specialties down there.”

In Norby's case, the Air Idaho Rescue crew ended up flying her to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls where she was then taken to the University of Utah.

Norby has this to say to her rescue crew: “I can't thank you enough. I wish I could give you something as a solid statement of gratitude.”