Sierra avalanche kills Nevada snowmobiler |

Sierra avalanche kills Nevada snowmobiler

Staff reports

MARKLEEVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A snowmobiler was killed in an avalanche in a remote area of the Sierra Nevada south of Lake Tahoe, authorities said.

Louis Magnotti, 43, of Zephyr Cove, Nev., was buried by the avalanche Saturday afternoon while snowmobiling with friends near Charity Valley in Alpine County.

He was dead when rescuers reached him late Saturday night, sheriff’s deputies said. The other snowmobilers escaped injury.

The avalanche was 500 feet wide and 1,000 feet long. Magnotti was swept down 600 feet from where he was last seen and found trapped under 5 feet of snow.

Witnesses said he vanished in a cloud of boiling snow. Witnesses searched for him for 45 minutes without success.

The sheriff’s office launched a search after being contacted at about 6:45 p.m. About 40 volunteers assisted in the search.

The area along Blue Lakes Road east of Carson Pass is popular with snowmobilers.

The avalanche occurred after another powerful spring storm dumped up to 20 inches of snow and left some Tahoe ski resorts with record April snowfall.

The U.S. Forest Service last week issued an avalanche warning for the east slopes of the Sierra between Sonora and Yuba passes.

The warning was issued at the moderate level, the second lowest of five categories. It urges backcountry users to be cautious around snow-covered open slopes and gullies.

Squaw Valley USA ski resort just north of Tahoe has reported 10 feet of snow from a string of April storms.