18-Year-Old Dies After Being Buried By Farmington Peak Avalanche

Jan 18, 2020, 4:25 PM | Updated: Jan 19, 2020, 2:23 pm

FARMINGTON, Utah – An 18-year-old male has died after being buried in an avalanche near Farmington Peak, according to Sergeant Nathan Dabb with the Davis County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials confirmed the victim had died Saturday evening.

Police received the 911 call around 1:30 p.m. Saturday and search and rescue reached the scene within minutes with assistance from an AirMed helicopter.

Dabb said the victim was not breathing after bystanders and search and rescue teams dug him out from the snow.

“They were in a very remote location, and at this time of year, it’s only accessible by snowmobile – maybe by foot,” Dabb said. “But we were really lucky that AirMed was just a few minutes away. They were able to shuttle our search and rescue guys up there within minutes of arriving here in Davis County.”

Without AirMed’s assistance, Dabb estimated search and rescue crews would have needed an additional 30-45 minutes to reach the scene.

Police said the victim was snowmobiling with his father when the avalanche occurred.

“I knew there was something wrong,” said Casey Pastrana, a snowmobiler who helped locate the victim. “I just knew we were going to need as many people as we could, so I got off my sled pulled out my beacon and got my probe out and we started looking for him.”

The teen was wearing an inflatable backpack that deployed as he was buried under five feet of snow. Dabb said bystanders located the victim’s beacon and began digging him out.

Pastrana also said the bag was fully inflated when they found the teen. They were able to deflate it when they started poking at it to dig him out.

“The avalanche bag was the first thing that we found and it was fully inflated,” Pastrana said. “It’s a good thing he had his beacon because I mean there would have been no way to find him.”

Search and rescue crews said it took approximately 20 minutes to dig the teen out.

Search and rescue crews in the area of a fatal avalanche near Farmington Peak. (Courtesy Davis County Sheriff's Office) Search and rescue crews in the area of a fatal avalanche near Farmington Peak. (Courtesy Davis County Sheriff's Office) Search and rescue crews in the area of a fatal avalanche near Farmington Peak. (Courtesy Davis County Sheriff's Office) Search and rescue crews in the area of a fatal avalanche near Farmington Peak. (Courtesy Davis County Sheriff's Office)

The victim was immediately airlifted to the University of Utah Hospital, where he later died. His father was not injured, according to Dabb.

Personnel from Davis County Search and Rescue, two AirMed helicopters, the Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter and the Farmington Fire Department initially responded to the incident.

Avalanche danger in the area was considerable Saturday, according to the Utah Avalanche Center.

Dabb said the area is a popular snowmobiling destination, especially with the new snow that had fallen over the week.

Officials said additional information, including the name of the deceased, will not be released until Sunday.

“Their family is in our thoughts and prayers and we were just glad that we were there to help him,” Pastrana said.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story said the teen’s inflatable avalanche backpack “improperly deployed.” It has since been updated to say the teen’s backpack fully deployed, and later deflated. 

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18-Year-Old Dies After Being Buried By Farmington Peak Avalanche