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5 Minnesotans rescued during snowmobile trip in Montana

One of the riders went through ice on a lake.

Five men from Minnesota were rescued in Montana after they became stranded in "extremely difficult" weather conditions, according to the Missoula County Sheriff's Office. 

The rescue operation began Sunday at 5 p.m. after a call for help was made, and the operation proved and successful around 2 a.m. Monday. The snowmobilers were in the Seeley-Swan area near Dinah Lake in western Montana when one snowmobiler went through the ice. He was able to swim to safety, albeit wet in the wintry conditions.

The other snowmobilers were wet from trying to get the snowmobile out of the water. Fortunately, none of the men required medical treatment. 

According to KPAX, it was snowing with near blizzard conditions, which made the nearly 10-hour rescue operation difficult. A rescue helicopter was forced to turn around, as was a ground search crew that couldn't make it through five feet of new snow. 

The men weren't saved until an expert snowmobile rider was sent in to help build a pathway so they could ride out themselves, the sheriff's office said. 

The group was able to build a small fire, which the sheriff's office believes helped save their lives. They were not equipped for an overnight stay in the wilderness. 

The identities of the Minnesotans have not been released. 

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