At Least One Person Buried In Park City Backcountry Avalanche
PARK CITY, Utah — Dangerous conditions have forced a pause on search efforts for a missing skier who was buried in an avalanche in a backcountry area in Summit County.
It was a difficult call for authorities and search crews Saturday night as they were forced to wait until morning to get into the “Square Top” area, which is located outside resort boundaries near Park City Mountain Canyons Village.
“It is a dangerous avalanche zone,” said Lt. Andrew Wright with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. “The plan was to use the Utah Department of Public safety and use their hoist team to get into the area; unfortunately, it started to get dark, so we had to pull out for the night.”
#BREAKING: Dangerous conditions force @SummitCountySO crews to pause SAR efforts until morning for skier following avalanche in back country area known as Square Top near Park City Mtn. Canyons Village… Gathering more info now, details at 9 p.m. @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/BLi6nT1eyY
— Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) January 31, 2021
Deputies said two skiers triggered the avalanche and one of them got caught in it.
The friend was able to dig the victim out and attempt life saving efforts, but was forced off the mountain due to the dangerous conditions.
The call for help came in around 3:30 p.m., but deputies said they were not sure when it was triggered and how long the skiers were trapped up there.
We are currently working a backcountry #avalanche in the Square Top area outside the ski resort. There is one confirmed burial. It is unknown if there are any other people involved. The area is extremely unstable and rescuers are working to get into the area safely. #summitcounty pic.twitter.com/n0zMOhj5XU
— Sheriff Justin (@SummitCountySO) January 30, 2021
On Saturday night, they feared this may be a recovery effort.
“Based on the circumstances and eye witness accounts, it’s not looking favorable for the individual, and it will take time for us to get in there; so yes, most likely we are looking at a recovery at this point,” said Wright.
The Utah Avalanche Center issued several high alert warnings this weekend.
They reported 13 avalanches in the Salt Lake area alone on Saturday. There was also one person at Lewis Peak near Coalville that was buried up to the waist, while four snowmobilers got caught in an avalanche near Chalk Creek.
Deputies said the search for the missing hiker will resume tomorrow morning at 7 a.m.
Information about the victim’s identity was not immediately available.
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