A 35-year-old man who was apparently skiing alone in the Utah backcountry is extremely lucky to be alive after triggering a 200-foot-wide avalanche which ended up burying him chest deep.
KTUV reports search and rescue teams were called to the scene of avalanche in Neffs Canyon early Wednesday afternoon. Sgt. Melody Cutler with the Unified Police Department said the man was skiing the Thomas Fork area when the slide occurred. He seems to have been by himself and there were no other witnesses to the incident.
Authorities did not confirm whether he was equipped with any avalanche gear. The skier sustained several injuries including a broken leg and an arm injury.
Injured and buried chest deep, he was unable to free himself and started yelling for help (no reports on if had a cellphone, could access it, or if there was service in the area). After 45 minutes of hollering, a Unified Fire Authority EMT who happened to be in the area heard the man’s pleas for help. The EMT contacted search and rescue teams while he proceeded to dig the man out.
Rescue crews were faced with a journey of approximately 2.5 miles from the roadway to the victim’s location. The route is through snowy terrain that had already proven dangerous for avalanches. As of 2:30 p.m. local time the victim had not been taken off the mountain.
We will be sure to update this story when more information becomes available. Be careful out there folks, this incident comes a day after two skiers were trapped after triggering an avalanche in Little Cottonwood Canyon.