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2 skiers killed after being caught in Utah avalanche following late spring snowstorms, sheriff says

By RICK BOWMER and AMY BETH HANSON – Associated Press

SANDY, Utah (AP) — Two backcountry skiers were killed and one was rescued after an avalanche Thursday in the mountains outside Salt Lake City that occurred after several days of spring snowstorms, authorities said.

A rescue team responded shortly after 10 a.m. to a reported avalanche near Lone Peak in the Wasatch Range, southeast of Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said.

One of the skiers, who managed to get out of the snow, was rescued around noon and taken to the hospital, Rivera said.

A rescue team aboard a helicopter flew over the area Thursday afternoon and confirmed the other two men had died, Rivera said. They are two men, aged 23 and 32. Their names have not been released.

Conditions were not safe enough to allow a restart Thursday and crews planned to go out Friday morning, weather permitting, Rivera said.

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Rivera said she believed the man who was rescued was the one who called for help. Officers were speaking to him at the hospital to get more information about what happened, the sheriff said.

The skiers entered the area Thursday morning, she said.

Craig Gordon of the Utah Avalanche Center said about 30 inches of heavy, wet snow fell in the area over the past three days.

The skiers would have had to be very experienced to find themselves on “very serious terrain,” he said.

This winter, at least 15 people have been killed in avalanches in the United States. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center, which tracks the figure nationally, counted 13 deaths before officials announced Thursday’s deaths.

Hanson reported from Helena, Montana.

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