Avalanche search called off; no victims reported | NevadaAppeal.com

Avalanche search called off; no victims reported

Kyle Magin and Kevin MacMillan
NEVADA APPEAL NEWS SERVICE
Jen Schmidt/Nevada Appeal News ServiceRescuers from a number of agencies, including local fire districts, ski
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INCLINE VILLAGE” A search has been called off for a possible victim in a Mt. Rose avalanche today after rescuers determined it unlikely anyone was trapped.

Sierra Fire Protection District Public Information Officer Mark Regan said the search was called off about 2:20 p.m. Regan said crews determined that if there was someone trapped in the snow, he or she made it out.

The avalanche site is on the Slide Mountain side of Mt. Rose, just north of

Incline Village and occurred on the out-of-bounds area below the lodge at

the East Bowl.

Mike Pierce, marketing director for Mt. Rose, said the call came into Mt.

Rose Ski Patrol at about 11 a.m. this morning from a passerby who saw the

wake of the avalanche from the Mt. Rose Highway.

Pierce said that because the two debris fields were covered in a fresh layer of snow, rescuers determined the avalanche likely occurred sometime late Tuesday

or early this morning.

A Mt. Rose Ski Patrol official earlier today said there was one set of

foot tracks headed toward the avalanche site, but none leading away.

Brooke Keast, public information officer for the Washoe County Sheriff’s

Office, confirmed this afternoon there also was a set of foot tracks

leading away from the avalanche site. Keast said it is unknown when both

sets of tracks were made, or if they are related.

Two helicopters arrived early Wednesday afternoon, Regan said, one from the

Naval Air Station in Fallon, Nev., and a CareFlight helicopter from Squaw

Valley USA. The CareFlight dropped off a pair of Squaw Valley Ski Patrol

search dogs to accompany the two Washoe County Search and Rescue dogs on

scene.

The Navy helicopter loaded up with Washoe County Search and Rescue

personnel, Regan said, and flew over the avalanche site, which Regan said is

“very unstable.”

In all, seven search and rescue personnel and four search and rescue dogs

from Squaw Valley Ski Patrol and Washoe County Search and Rescue combed the

100-foot-wide fracture for about three hours by ski and snowshoe for any potential victims.

Regan said rescuers did not receive any type of transceiver signal coming

from beneath the snow.

1 p.m. UPDATE

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. ” Search and rescue personnel are searching for one person who could be buried in snow after an avalanche occurred Wednesday on the Slide Mountain side of Mt. Rose, just south of Incline Village.

A helicopter is en route from the Naval Air Station in Fallon, Nev., said Sierra Fire Protection District Public Information Officer Mark Regan, to fly over the avalanche site, which he said is “very unstable.”

Once it arrives, the helicopter will load up with Washoe County Search and Rescue personnel, Regan said. If a victim is spotted from above, search and rescue personnel will air-dropped onto the site to initiate recovery.

Furthermore, a CareFlight helicopter also is en route to the scene with an unknown number of Squaw Valley Ski Patrol personnel and two Squaw Valley Ski Patrol rescue dogs, Regan said.

A Mt. Rose Ski Patrol official said there is on set of foot tracks headed toward the avalanche site, but none leading away. Furthermore, patrollers have not received any type of transceiver signal coming from beneath the snow.

Mt. Rose and Washoe County Search and Rescue personnel are on the scene and approaching the avalanche site on snowshoes. Rescue dogs are sniffing the area, and personnel are probing the snow, looking for any potential victims.

Regan said the avalanches fracture area is about 100 feet wide. He said the area rescuers are searching is “very unstable,” and they are taking extreme caution during the search.

Chief Michael Brown of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District said “potentially one person is buried” in the avalanche, which occurred at about 11 a.m. Wednesday, in an out-of-bounds area below the lodge at the East Bowl.

Washoe County Search and Rescue, NLTFPD and SFPD officials are on scene and have staged in the Slide Mountain parking lot on Mt. Rose.

At about 11:45 a.m., an Incline High School school bus containing the IHS varsity boys basketball team, headed to Lovelock for Wednesday’s playoff basketball game at Pershing County High School, passed by the scene.

“We saw about 12 vehicles and a lot of activity up there,” said assistant coach Joe Humasti.

11:50 a.m. update:

Carson City Search and Rescue has been asked to standby in a “ready mode,” to assist, according Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong.

11:42 a.m. update:

Washoe County Search and Rescue crews are assembling in the Slide Mountain parking lot on Mt. Rose after a reported avalanche in an out-of-bounds area below the lodge at the East Bowl.

Chief Michael Brown of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District said “potentially one person is buried” in the avalanche, which occurred at about 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Updates will be posted as they become available.




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