Anchorage doctor killed in avalanche

Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Anchorage doctor was killed in an avalanche while skiing in Wrangell Saint Elias National Park, Alaska State Troopers said Friday.

Robert L. Pulliam III, 55, was skiing down the north side of a mountain Thursday afternoon when he was overtaken by the avalanche, trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said.

Pulliam was swept 70 yards down the mountain from the 6,000-foot level, troopers said.

The avalanche struck at about 1:30 p.m. as Pulliam was skiing down a ridge with Hedric B. Hanson, 61, an Anchorage doctor and Andrew D. Lovell, 27, a Glennallen skiing guide. The three were skiing in an area near the Upper Hanagita lakes, south of the Chitina River.

Lovell and Hanson were not in the path of the avalanche and managed to ski down and find Pulliam's body. Pulliam had sustained severe head injuries, troopers said.

Hanson pronounced Pulliam dead at the scene, troopers said.

The three had been dropped off Thursday morning by Ultima Thule's Flying Service. Lovell radioed the Ultima Thule pilot with the news about Pulliam's death as the pilot flew over the site about 2:30 p.m. to check on the skiers, troopers said.

Pulliam was a cardiologist for Alaska Heart Institute. He also was a partner with the company, according to chief executive officer Baxter Burton.

A National Park Service ranger and state trooper flew to the area to investigate.

Pulliam's body was recovered from the remote area Friday and flown to Glennallen, according to troopers.

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