In addition to declaring a flood emergency in central Montana, Governor Steve Bullock also approved a request from the Montana Air National Guard to utilize two Chinook CH-47 helicopters to rescue stranded students at the Montana Wilderness School of the Bible on Thursday morning.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said there were 137 students and staff rescued on the Dearborn River, just south of Augusta.

“Rather than have the parents try to get to the camp and perhaps become stranded themselves, it was easier for my command staff to find some willing partners such as the Air National Guard and work with them to get the students out,” said Dutton. “Earlier today, two Chinook CH-47 helicopters would go in and pick up the students and ferry them into Great Falls. We also took in two ATV four-wheelers with one deputy and one Search and Rescue member to talk to some contractors, people who have been stranded up in the Diamond Bar X area and offer them a one-time only free ride out.”

The Montana Wilderness School of the Bible is a two-year program for college age students.

“Rather than wait and try to fjord the river, the National Guard stepped up and offered to help and we appreciate that,” he said. “The school is located southwest of Augusta, Montana by about 15 miles near the Dearborn River in the Dearborn Canyon area.”

The 100 students and 37 staff members were safely transported to Holman Aviation at the Great Falls International Airport, where their parents were waiting.