Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Rare June Avalanche in Montana

Based on the reference to recent snowfall, sounds like this was not a springtime wet slide but more of a wintertime slab avalanche -- perhaps recent snowfall followed by rapid warming (as would be expected in mid-June)?
Also of interest is how one of the victims texted a friend to call 911:  sometimes when cell coverage is too spotty to complete a voice call, a text message can still go through (albeit not immediately).

2 Rescued After Fairy Lake Avalanche

(Bozeman, Mont.) Two skiers out of four were transported to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital after an avalanche in the rock chutes above Fairy Lake Monday.  At about 4:00 p.m. Sheriff’s Search and Rescue was dispatched to the area of Fairy Lake for a reported avalanche.  One patient was in contact with his friend by text messaging, the friend called 911.  Resucers were dropped off initially by helicopter but had to traverse about 1/4 mile sking across steep snow slopes.  Rescuers reached the first patient who had a broken leg at about  5:20 p.m.  Rescuers discovered a second skier had sustained head injuries and was located high above them on the slope.  The first patient was put in a rescue tobogan and skied to a suitable landing zone below Fairy Lake where he was loaded in Summit Air Ambulance and transported to the hospital.  The second patient was lowered 500 feet using ropes to the bottom of the run out then fl0wn by Carrish helicopters to a waiting AMR ambulance below Fairy Lake.   
Sheriff Gootkin reminds backcountry users that avalanches are still possible becasue of the recent snow fall.  Be backcountry aware.  Ski avalanche terrain with caution and one at a time.  

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