Two killed, one rescued in avalanche in Lone Peak area

May 9, 2024, 10:57 AM | Updated: 10:24 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTY — Two skiers were killed in an avalanche Thursday in the Lone Peak area.

Two men, ages 23 and 32, were killed, and one was rescued and transported to the hospital, Sheriff Rosie Rivera with the Salt Lake County Police Department announced in a press conference.

“I believe there’s two locals, one that was rescued earlier today and one of the deceased,” Rivera said. “The families are not local so we wanted to give the families some time before we released names.”

The names of the individuals, including the one survivor, have not been released.

“Our team was able to get eyes on and they have confirmed, they were going to do a recovery but as you can see the weather changed very quickly on them and it’s just unsafe for our teams to do that so we will be back tomorrow morning in another attempt,” Rivera said.

According to the Unified Police Department, at approximately 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, a call came in requesting help in Lone Peak Canyon. Police responded and discovered that three skiers were missing in an avalanche in the area.

KSL TV Reporter Andrew Adams witnessed multiple helicopters, including one that landed and unloaded a person at Hidden Valley Park.

One skier was rescued and transported to the hospital. Efforts to find and rescue the other skiers continued until 3:40 p.m.

“We do believe that they started out this morning and it took them about five hours to get to where they’re at, so it’s quite a distance,” Rivera said.

“Due to the location and challenges with these rescues UPD requested assistance from Salt Lake County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Draper Fire Department, Sandy Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service, and Wasatch back Country Rescue,” the release stated.

Recovery efforts for the two men killed will continue Friday morning.

“It’s very treacherous that’s why they’re using the helicopter to get to the area,” Rivera said. “The snow starts to freeze and one of the rescuers told me it’s like concrete once it starts to freeze so it makes it very difficult to get to the individuals and to that area.” Rivera said.

Rivera said they believe the three skiers were friends and out skiing as a group.

“We just wanted to say how tragic of an incident this is. We understand people want to go up and enjoy the beautiful mountains and snow but there’s always that chance that the weather changes or the snow – it’s just a tough time and very tragic and our hearts go out to the families of these individuals,” Rivera said.

Utah Avalanche Center’s Craig Gordon told KSL TV he spoke to the lone survivor shortly after he was rescued.

Gordon said the three skiers are experienced back-country skiers, and they were prepared with all the right avalanche gear. He said it was an unfortunate case where they were caught in an avalanche that was several feet deep and hundreds of feet wide as they were hiking up the mountain.

“This situation of course, deeply rocks my world, and deeply breaks my heart, and my heart is very heavy for this group that loves this snow and loves the mountains as much as I do and are now dealing with something that is so emotionally insurmountable, my heart breaks for this entire community right now,” Gordon said.

Initial reports from crews reported a dog was with the skiers, but officials clarified that the skiers did not have a dog with them.

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Two killed, one rescued in avalanche in Lone Peak area