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Morris man killed in Wyoming snowmobile accident

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MORRIS, Minn. - Fifty-three-year-old Steven Anderson of Morris was killed in a snowmobile accident on Togwotee Mountain in Teton County, Wyoming on Wednesday.

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According to the Teton County Sheriff's Department, Anderson was separated from the rest of his snowmobile party when he struck a tree and suffered fatal injuries. A preliminary assessment from the Teton County Coroner's Office said it appears Anderson died as a result of a broken neck, and his death was likely instantaneous.

A member of the search and rescue team sent to help Anderson, 63-year-old Ray Shriver, was killed when the helicopter that responded to the call for help crashed, the sheriff's department said.

Teton County Dispatch received a call for help at about 11:45 a.m. reporting a probable one person fatality accident. Teton County Search and Rescue responded around 12:30 p.m., crewed by a pilot and two members of the search and rescue team.

Initial investigations have revealed that the helicopter was hovering in search of a landing zone when it suddenly began to lose altitude before crash landing in a heavily forested area. Officials lost radio contact with the helicopter for about 45 minutes between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. When radio contact was reestablished, the helicopter crew confirmed that they had crash landed.

During that time, Teton County Search and Rescue began assembling a team to provide ground support and respond to both accident sites. Both surviving members of the search and rescue team, 62-year-old Ken Johnson and 44-year-old Mike Moyer, were secured and transported to a local hospital for treatment.

After the three men were treated, deputies from the Teton County Sheriff's Department and one Jackson Hole Fire/EMS first responder moved to the scene of Anderson's accident to investigate.

According to reports from the Associated Press, a failed rear rotor may have caused the helicopter crash. Teton County Public Information Officer Charlotte Reynolds said that investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the helicopter crash.

The cause of the snowmobile crash is also under investigation, and more information will be released when it becomes available.

Anderson is survived by his wife, Connie Anderson of Morris; two sons, Ryan (Laura) Anderson of Morris and Justin Anderson of Morris; two daughters, Marisa (Matt) Carlson of Morris and Sarah (Colby) Schultz of Hoffman; and six grandchildren, Damien, Skott, Abigail, Brayden, Aaden and Wyatt.

Emma Breysse from the Jackson Hole News and Guide contributed to this story.

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Kim Ukura is the editor of the Morris Sun Tribune. 

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