Avalanche kills snowmobiler near Moffit Basin

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SUMMIT COUNTY -- A fast-moving avalanche in Utah's backcountry separated two snowmobilers and killed a Wyoming man Friday afternoon.

Dennis Barnes, 54, and his friend were snowmobiling near Moffit Basin on the Utah/Wyoming border.

"It's extremely steep mountain terrain, but wonderful obviously for snowmobiling," said Summit County Sgt. Ron Bridge.

Barnes and his companion triggered a slide 250 yards across. Barnes was not wearing a beacon, so his friend began probing the area where his snowmobile settled and was able to locate his body and dig him out; however, he was buried for over an hour and died.

Past reports show at least seven fatal avalanches in Moffit Basin.

In December of 2008, a 15-year-old boy was killed while snowmobiling, and almost one year ago on Christmas Day 2007, a Summit County man was buried while snowmobiling with his family and died.

The sheriff's office warns, if you are going to venture into the backcountry, make sure you have the proper equipment.


E-mail: jstagg@ksl.com

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