Redfield search team worked through the night and a blizzard - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Search team worked through the night and a blizzard to find stranded Redfield man

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A Redfield woman should be celebrating her son's 59th birthday today; instead, she's planning his funeral. 

As we first told you last night at ten, 58-year-old Kevin Cranston died after leaving his stranded vehicle during a blizzard. 

Cranston went missing after leaving work in Redfield Sunday night.  Search teams found him early Monday Morning. 

After finding Cranston's pick up in a ditch right off the highway just a mile from his rural home, a search party made up of everyone from neighbors to snowmobilers and County officials set out to search through the night in the heart of a blizzard. 

"Local citizens and farmers and everybody come together in a cooperative effort to look for Kevin," said Spink County Sherriff Kevin Schurch. 

As a lifetime member of the Redfield community, Kevin was a friend to most, but the search to bring him home was not an easy one. 

"Visibility was just absolutely zero; the roads were treacherous with five to six foot banks of snow in the roads," said Sherriff Schurch. 

Cranston and his 86-year-old mother lived on rural roads with huge drifts of snow.  A neighboring farmer used his tractor to help search crews get into the area. 

"A tractor is the only thing that could go over it, so he did all that so that was nice," said Kevin's mother Betty Cranston. 

The snow and wind were too fierce to set out on foot, so Micheal Rogers brought out his Snow Bear machine to help. 

"The depth of snow doesn't bother it, the elements don't bother it, it's designed for 40 below use," said Rogers. 

With a heated interior, tracks, spot lights and GPS fishing technology, the crew was able to set up a grid search through the dark and blinding storm. 

"We had four people in there and we were looking four directions at the same time with spot lights," said Rogers. 

By 4:00am, the wind died down enough for the local snow mobile club to safely help with the search. 

"When the visibility gets to the point where it doesn't put everybody else in danger, the more eyes you have out the better chance you have to find the person," said Sherriff Schurch. 

The snowmobile club found Cranston just after five in the morning. 

"He looked stiff as a board, like he was barely clinging to life and, that was about right," said Ethan Jessen with the Jim Valley Snowmobile Club. 

It was a tragic end to more than eight hours of searching through extremely harsh conditions. 

"That was a new experience, I hope we don't have to do that again, but we'd be more than willing if we had to," said Jessen. 

Cranston's mother hopes her son's death will serve as a reminder to stay in your vehicle during a blizzard, no matter how close you are to home.

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