Woman Dead, Snowshoer Missing After Cascade Mountains Avalanche
(SEATTLE, Wash.) — A woman hiker who was rescued Saturday from the Cascade Mountains in Washington after being buried by an avalanche has died, and one snowshoer remains missing.
The first avalanche took place around noon at Granite Mountain, knocking three men who were on snowshoes to the ground. Two emerged injured from the snow, however the third, a 60-year-old man, whose identity has not been released, did not.
“They started out, everything’s fine, they’re in a gully-type area – when they’re hit by the avalanche,” Sgt. Katie Larson, spokeswoman for the King County Sheriff’s Office, told ABC News’ Seattle affiliate KOMO-TV.
Larson said one of the men was carrying a GPS device, which showed they were carried 1,200 feet down the mountain at speeds of up to 53 miles per hour.
One of the rescued snowshoers has a shoulder injury, while the other injured his hamstring, she said.
A team of 100 rescuers, some with search dogs, fanned out in the area on Saturday to search for the missing snowshoer, but heavy snowfall and fading daylight hampered the search and rescue mission, forcing the teams to retreat for the night.
The search has been suspended indefinitely due to poor weather conditions, the King County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Sunday.
The second avalanche occurred at Red Mountain, a half hour after the first, striking 12 snowshoers and a woman who was walking nearby.
The group of hikers were able to rescue themselves, but realized the woman was missing. After searching for and locating the woman, the hikers dug her out of about 5 feet of snow. She was not moving and somewhat conscious when they rescued her. Search and rescue teams arrived in over two hours, who loaded the woman onto a sled and hiked her through blizzard-like conditions through the mountains.
Medics at the base then confirmed that the woman had died. She has not yet been identified.
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