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TROY - A 47-year-old search and rescue team member was killed Saturday in a snowmobile crash during a training exercise southwest of Troy, the Lincoln County undersheriff reported Sunday.

Cameron Mitchell Goins, of Libby, was alone on his snowmobile when it crashed into a tree as he headed up the Keeler Creek drainage, according to Undersheriff Brent Faulkner.

Goins was a member of the David Thompson Search and Rescue team, which was taking part in a joint avalanche preparedness training exercise with CANAM Search and Rescue at the time of the accident.

“Cameron Goins was a dedicated community volunteer and will always be remembered and have a place within David Thompson Search and Rescue, and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his family," Sheriff Roby Bowe said Sunday.

Goins had been part of the search and rescue team for two years, and was an active member of the Snowmobile Unit, ATV Unit, and Mountain Unit.

He and others were headed for the avalanche training site in the Bear Mountain area when Goins' inexplicably drifted off the main snowmobile trail and hit a tree with his body. He was declared dead at the scene at about 10:30 a.m.

The training exercise also involved members of search and rescue teams from Sanders County and Boundary County, Idaho, along with personnel from the U.S. Forest Service and other community volunteers.

Dispatchers in Troy received word of the accident at 9:50 a.m., and an air ambulance was dispatched, Faulkner said. A number of trained medical personnel were participating in the training, so began CPR immediately.

The Alert Helicopter out of Kalispell was launched to respond. And Troy Volunteer Ambulance (TVA) and Advance Life Support (ALS) personnel headed for the scene as well.

Upon arrival at the trailhead parking area, an ALS member was transported up the drainage by snowmobile. Shortly after the ALS member arrived at the scene, Goins was declared dead, and the helicopter was canceled.

Investigators from the Forest Service and sheriff's office arrived shortly thereafter. They were unable to determine why Goins drifted off the maintained trail. He was wearing a helmet, but his body hit the tree during the crash, the undersheriff said.

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Editor Sherry Devlin can be reached at 523-5250 or at sdevlin@missoulian.com.

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