Florida man dies in snowmobiling accident in Summit County
A 38-year-old man from Florida died on Wednesday from injuries he sustained during a snowmobiling accident near the Whitney Reservoir in a remote part of Summit County.
Lee Cornwell, of New Port Richey, Florida, was riding with two friends from North Carolina in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest at around 12:30 p.m. when he became briefly separated from them. One of the men said Cornwell was ahead of them as they were climbing a hill when he disappeared out of their view, according to Lt. Andrew Wright of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
Within seconds, Cornwell contacted his friends through a helmet communication system and told them he was badly injured, Wright said. He apparently fell approximately 20 feet over a steep drop off and briefly went airborne before landing on his snowmobile, immediately complaining of internal pain. A survival group training in the area came across the accident and gave Cornwell aid.
Summit County was notified of the accident by Uinta County, Wyoming, law enforcement officials. Medical personnel, including AirMed, responded to the scene.
“His friends were talking to him trying to figure out what kind of injuries he had,” Wright said. “He started to lose consciousness, and between his friends and medical personnel, they worked on him for more than an hour and unfortunately he didn’t make it.”
Cornwell was pronounced dead at the scene. Summit County Search and Rescue later responded to the area to retrieve his body.
Cornwell and his two friends traveled to Utah for three days of snowmobiling and were somewhat unfamiliar with the area. It was only Cornwell’s second time on a snowmobile, Wright said.
“His wife is extremely distraught and they do have children,” he said. “I can’t even imagine. The three guys were out there enjoying the wilderness together as friends when this happened. It is just one of those things that is truly a tragic accident.”
The Sheriff’s Office offered its condolences to his family.
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