Two dead in Eureka avalanche

Posted: Sunday, February 04, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The body of a second snowmachiner killed in an avalanche northeast of Anchorage was recovered Sunday, Alaska State Troopers said.

The avalanche victim was identified as Scott Boland, 32, of Anchorage. The name of the other snowmachiner, whose body was found Saturday, was not being released until next of kin could be notified.

About 70 volunteers, many of them equipped with 12-foot probes, helped in Sunday's search effort, troopers said.

The snow slide occurred Saturday about 20 miles south of the Eureka Lodge where seven snowmachiners were traveling in a line up a 35- to 45-degree slope, said trooper spokesperson Greg Wilkinson.

A third member of the group, Richard Hanson, 28, of Anchorage was buried but was able to pull himself out. The five surviving snowmachiners immediately began searching for the missing two.

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

The avalanche was described as about one-quarter mile wide with depths of snow 8 to 40 feet. Troopers were alerted at 12:40 p.m.

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, helped in the search and rescue efforts. A Fish and Wildlife Division helicopter with night vision capability was launched at around 5 p.m. Saturday

''They were tremendously lucky to not have more fatalities,'' Fredston said. ''All seven were riding for their lives, and they are quite shook up.''

The Eureka Lodge had posted signs warning of avalanche danger in the area. Avalanche expert Doug Fesler said the area is the same where about a week ago two snowmachiners were partially buried by an avalanche.

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