Man trapped by avalanche rescued

Posted at 3:36 PM, Feb 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-10 17:36:17-05

SALT LAKE CITY -– Search and rescue teams successfully rescued a man who suffered a leg injury after he was caught in an avalanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon Sunday.

Lt. Justin Hoyal, Unified Police Department, said the avalanche was in the Broad Fork area of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Crews responded at approximately 2:30 p.m. A group of four people, two men and two women, were skiing in the back country when the avalanche occurred.

“As near as we can tell he’s just about two and a half miles from the trail head here up in Broad Fork Canyon,” said Sgt. Latham, Unified Police Department.

Sgt. Latham said the group came in on cross-country skis and hiked to several ridges to ski down the powder bowls, which was when the avalanche was triggered.

“Our individual was buried in the avalanche—up to his neck is what we’re being told,” he said. “His friends dug him out, but he sustained a lower leg injury in the process of getting carried down the mountain.”

Sgt. Latham said they initially could not get to the man with the life-flight helicopter, as the conditions were too treacherous. He said the increasingly poor visibility was a concern as well. A second helicopter was called in later, but it couldn't get to the victim either.

Capt. Kris Owney, Unified Police Department, said after that they sent rescuers in on skis.

"We have, well we have 17 rescuers on the mountain presently, several that are with the victim and his companion," Capt. Owney said.

A helicopter was sent in for the third time, and it was able to move the man to a place where he could be transported by ambulance.