BYU student in critical condition after being buried by avalanche

Posted at 6:12 PM, Feb 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-08 23:37:01-05

UPDATE: Officials said Sunday Cox had died after being taken off of life support.

AMERICAN FORK CANYON, Utah – A woman went into full cardiac arrest Saturday after she was carried by an avalanche into a creek, where she was submerged and buried, and officials said emergency responders have established a pulse.

Officials later identified the woman as 21-year-old Ashleigh Nicole Cox of Colorado Springs, who is attending Brigham Young University.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff's Office said Cox was snow shoeing in the Tibble Fork Area of American Fork Canyon.

Search and rescue crews were dispatched shortly before 6 p.m.

An official with the search and rescue crews told FOX 13 News' Todd Tanner the woman was carried by the avalanche into a nearby creek, where she was fully submerged/buried under the water and snow for about 20 to 25 minutes.

The woman was the only one to be caught in the avalanche, and the search and rescue official said she was one of six people in the area snow shoeing. Search and rescue crews assisted the group, who knew the location of the woman, in retrieving the victim.

The road going into American Fork Canyon is closed to incoming traffic. Officials are only allowing vehicles on the road that are exiting the canyon, as officials are conducting avalanche control in the area.

There is no indication the avalanche control efforts were related to the avalanche that trapped the woman, and it appears blasting efforts were not taking place at the time of the avalanche.

Cannon said Cox was taken to an American Fork hospital. Search and rescue officials said the responders established a pulse. As of about 9 p.m., officials said she was in extremely critical condition.

The cause of the avalanche was not immediately clear.

The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City issued an avalanche warning for portions of Utah.