Boys dead after Wasatch Co. avalanche

Posted at 5:12 PM, Jan 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-19 17:36:28-05

HEBER – Two boys caught in an avalanche near Heber Friday afternoon have died.

14-year-old Coleman Sweat and 7-year-old Trevan Sweat were snowmobiling with their family in the West Fork of Duchesne when they stopped to rest. The boys went to look over a ledge when it gave way.

“They parked on the road and then they just walked 50 feet from their snowmobiles,” said Jared Rigby, Wasatch County Sheriff Chief Deputy. “The cornice gave way and they fell.”

Deputies said Coleman and Trevan couldn’t have known they’d trigger the snow slide. Conditions in the area were considered moderate for avalanche danger.

“They weren’t really in what you would consider classic avalanche terrain,” said Utah Avalanche Center Forecaster Craig Gordon. “It was just a steep little wind loaded bowl.”

The slide was about 50 feet long and about 2 feet deep. Deputies said the boys disappeared in the slide. The boys’ parents, Jason and Janette Sweat, quickly called for help and tried to locate Coleman and Trevan. It took 30 minutes to find the boys, but they were unconscious and not breathing. The family’s two daughters waited for rescuers to arrive.

“Every member of this family was doing everything they could,” Rigby said. “They were prepared. They were experienced; they knew the area very well. Just a tragic situation.”

The boys were air lifted to Primary Children’s Medical Center. Deputies said rescuers did everything they could, but couldn’t revive the boys.

Coleman was a student at Rocky Mountain Middle School. Friends said he loved the outdoors and was a champion wrestler. Trevan attended Old Mill Elementary School

Deputies said it’s a small community, so the tragedy has affected many who live in the area.

“One of the search and rescue members told me for him this was the call he’d been dreading for 20 years,” Rigby said. “This is the call he didn’t want. To know the family, to know that they’re children, And to have very little you can do about it.”

Memorial funds have been set up at Wells Fargo Bank and Utah Community Credit Union to help the Sweat family with expenses under the name Coleman and Trevan Sweat Memorial Fund.