Norwegian exchange student dies in snowmobile accident

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Pictured is Elisabeth Lenes of Harstad, Norway who was spending the school year in Plains studying at Plains High School.

PLAINS - A 17-year-old foreign exchange student of Plains High School died late Sunday evening in what was described as a single-rider, single-snowmobile accident near a residence on Buffalo Bill Road.

Elisabeth Lenes of Harstad, Norway, was spending the year with host family Matt and Dana Diehl of Plains.

Plains Ambulance responded to the emergency call when it came in between 8:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m. EMT Zach Vanderwall was on call and responded to the incident.

“We as EMTs did everything we were trained to do with that situation,” Vanderwall said. “CPR was in progress before our arrival and we continued CPR on the way to the hospital.”

It is unclear what the cause of death was at the time of press.

Status updates and wall postings on the social network Facebook indicated Lenes’ death was part of a “freak snowmobile accident.” Many fellow students expressed their sorrow for Lenes via Facebook.

Lenes had studied media and communication at her school in Norway prior to coming to the United States. Her initial American experiences occurred here in Sanders County, such as eating her first American hamburger at The Circle, sight-seeing in Thompson Falls and dealing with speaking English while attending school at Plains. She had many local friends who mourn her loss.

Plains High School Superintendent Thom Chisholm issued the following statement regarding Lenes’ death:

“The students, staff, and administration offer their condolences to the student’s family, and host family.  It is a heart-breaking scenario that everyone finds very difficult to comprehend.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and those affected by the painful hurt caused by the passing of our student.”

As more details become available, Valley Press will follow up and update on this story.

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