Avalanches Kill Two in Central Utah

Avalanches Kill Two in Central Utah

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Sam Penrod reportingAnother deadly weekend in Utah's backcountry, as two avalanches kill two people in Central Utah. The slides both happened in Sanpete County Saturday afternoon, about an hour apart.

It's been a tragic day in Sanpete County. Two men were killed in separate slides, while snowboarding and snowmobiling this afternoon.

In the mountains east of Mt. Pleasant, a group of snowmobilers were in the area, when one of them apparently triggered an avalanche, around 2:00 this afternoon. One person was buried in the slide, but those in the group eventually were able to dig the victim out. But he could not be revived.

Saturday evening, volunteers from the Sanpete County Search and Rescue were able to recover the victim from the avalanche.

Sheriff Kay Larsen/ Sanpete County Sheriff's Office: "There was approximately ten people up there snowmobiling together. They had lost sight of him and could see the tracks where it had slid, and went down there. [They were] able to get him out of the snow, but unable to revive him."

About an hour before the Mt. Pleasant slide, a 26 year old man who was snowboarding got caught in an avalanche in Ephraim Canyon. The victim was buried in the slide, but was wearing an avalanche beacon and someone who was with him was able to dig him out and started CPR.

The victim was airlifted to Utah Valley Medical Center where he died.

Tonight authorities are identifying the victim as 26 year old Louk Gordon from Ephraim. And in the Mt. Pleasant slide, 42 year old David Wayne Johnson of South Jordan was killed.

Authorities say heavy snow earlier in the week and then the warmer temperatures today likely caused both slides.

Avalanche Warning

Those fatalities make five avalanche-related deaths in the last month.

Another smaller avalanche-- about 4-feet deep-- has closed the road up Little Cottonwood Canyon. Authorities are telling everyone to get out. An avalanche warning is in effect for ALL Utah mountains, and that warning will remain in effect for the rest of the weekend.

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