One dead, one missing in Eureka avalanche

Posted: Sunday, February 04, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- One snowmachiner died and one is missing and presumed dead in an avalanche Saturday about 20 miles south of Eureka Lodge.

Alaska State Troopers said the men were from Anchorage and in their 30s but would not release names before next of kin were notified.

Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said seven snowmachiners were traveling in a line up a 35- to 45-degree slope when the snow slide began.

One man was buried but was able to pull himself out. The five surviving snowmachiners immediately began searching for the missing two. Troopers said six were wearing beacons and the snowmachiners were packing probes.

After searching for two hours, they located the dead snowmachiner under about nine feet of snow. They administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation for 30 minutes but were not able to revive the man.

Troopers said they received a call at 12:40 p.m. from a snowmachiner who had ridden until he could use his cell phone. A trooper from Glennallen traveled to the avalanche scene by snowmachine.

Search efforts continued Saturday night.

An Army National Guard helicopter with rescue volunteers, including two Alaska Search and Rescue dogs and their handlers, plus members of Alaska Mountain Rescue and Jill Fredston of Alaska Mountain Safety, arrived at around 5:45 p.m. A Fish and Wildlife Division helicopter with night vision capability was launched at around 5 p.m.

The avalanche was described as about one-quarter mile wide with depths of snow 8 to 40 feet.

According to reports from the Eureka Lodge, there were about a dozen snowmachiners in the area at the time. Troopers said the lodge had posted signs warning of avalanche danger in the area.

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