Tuesday, March 13, 2007

cross-country skiers killed in avalanche

The Denver Post is reporting:
Three cross-country skiers were caught in an avalanche that killed two of them this afternoon in the White River National Forest, five miles southeast of Aspen, Pitken County Sheriff's officials said.

Authorities had no information about the victims and as of this evening the bodies of the two men killed were still being transported by snowmobile from the forest, sheriff's patrol director Jeff Lumsden said.

The county's emergency dispatch center received a call from a mobile phone about the slide about 3 p.m., from the lone survivor, who reported he and two other men were on the northwest face of Mount Shimer, Lumsden said. The caller said one of his companions had been buried about 4 feet, that he had dug him out and that he was conscious and breathing, Lumsden said. The man's other companion was buried under 8 feet of snow and appeared to have been killed immediately, the man reported.

A medical helicopter from Summit County flew a snow safety expert and a medic to the area, but upon their arrival the reporting victim was the only survivor, Lumsden said. The bodies of the men were being flown to awaiting rescuers, who were going to transport them out of the forest by snowmobile tonight, Lumsden said. Shimer's peak, at 12,339 feet, also is known by locals as "Sunshine Peak" because it's the last mountain to capture the light at sundown.

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