COOKE CITY, Jan. 1 (AP) — Two people were killed in an avalanche on New Year’s Eve in Montana and Colorado as heavy snow blanketed much of the west.
Forecasters at the Avalanche Center in the Gallatin National Forest said two snowmobilers from Washington were heading uphill near Daisy Pass, north of Cooke City, Montana, when one of them caused a major landslide. and was swept over a vertical height of approximately 600 feet (183 meters).
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The buried rider, covered in 5 feet (152 centimeters) of snow, was wearing an avalanche airbag backpack that did not deploy. The two unnamed riders had shovels and detectors, but neither was wearing an avalanche beacon.
Another group of snowmobilers helped locate the missing rider, and his body was found about an hour later. Avalanches are about 2-4 feet (61-122 cm) deep, 500 feet (152 meters) wide and 600 feet (183 meters) long. It breaks through the thin snow near the bottom of the snowpack.
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Also Saturday, a father and his adult son were hit by an avalanche while backcountry skiing near Breckenridge, Colorado, ski resort, according to the Summit County Rescue Group. The father was able to dig himself out, but his son was buried.
His body was found about two hours later by a team with search and rescue dogs. His name was not released.
Saturday’s accident marked the second and third avalanche fatalities this winter, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, which tracks fatalities across the country. (Associated Press)
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