Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Five snowboarders die in avalanche

Five snowboarders have died in an avalanche in Colorado

Five snowboarders have been killed in an off-piste avalanche on Colorado's Loveland Pass.

Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger said six snowboarders were caught in the avalanche. The condition of the survivor was not released.

Search and rescue crews recovered the bodies several hours after the avalanche, which was 600 yards wide.

Lisa Devore, who was heading back to Denver from the resort, said she saw a fire engine and ambulance on the pass, as well as two search dogs heading into the area of the avalanche. She said she saw several ambulances, including one towing snowmobiles, driving towards the pass.

The 12,000 feet pass is popular among skiers and snowboarders.

On Thursday, a 38-year-old snowboarder died in an avalanche south of Vail Pass.

Eagle County sheriff's officials said the man and another snowboarder probably triggered the slide after a friend on a snowmobile dropped them off at the top of Avalanche Bowl.

Nationwide, more than 18 people have died in avalanches this season, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Centre.

US avalanche deaths climbed steeply around 1990 to an average of around 24 a year as new gear became available for off-piste skiing and snowboarding.

Until then, avalanches rarely claimed more than a handful of lives each season in records going back to 1950.

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