Owen Marshall Pratt 12/4/78 Resurrection Trail Snowmachiner Exposure

Snowmobiler dies on trail
ADN 12/4/78

One member of the Mat-Su Motor Mushers, a Matanuska Valley snowmobile club, died Saturday night atop the Resurrection Trail.

Five others were to have been ferried out this morning, state troopers report.

Owen Marshall Pratt, 51, of Wasilla, was part of an 18-member party that was to have met in the middle after starting at different ends of the trail.  Twelve motor mushers left from Hope; and 6 left from Cooper Landing, according to troopers.

When the Saturday night storm which dumped upwards of a foot of snow on Southcentral Alaska swooped down on the party, the group circled up their machines, hunkered down for the night and waited for sunlight.  They shared two sleeping bags.

In the morning, Pratt was dead.  Troopers speculated that be had died of exposure, but were not yet certain.

His death was relayed to authorities by one of the club members who made it to the road in the morning and called out on his citizens band radio.

The Elmendorf Rescue Coordination Center dropped a paramedic to the six person party, which spent the bitter cold night-in the East Fork cabin.  He spent Sunday night with the party and was to have helped further rescue operations this morning.

Soldotna Troopers report that despite high winds and the fresh snow, all of the party, which planned to spend the night on the trail, was accounted for.