Detailed Accident Report

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Date: 2008-01-01
Submitted By: NWAC
Place: Excelsior Pass area, north of Mount Baker
State: WA
Country: USA
Fatalities: 2
Summary: 5 snowmobilers caught, 2 killed, and 1 injured

***Media Reports***

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Second Whatcom Co. avalanche victim found

05:08 PM PST on Wednesday, January 2, 2008

By GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News and Staff

About 50 volunteers searched the area Wednesday for the missing snowmobiler. His body was found just after noon.

NEAR MOUNT BAKER, Wash. ? Searchers found the body of a missing man Wednesday afternoon ? one of two people killed in a New Year's Day avalanche which overcame a group of people out on a snowmobiling trip.

The avalanche happened around 1 p.m. Tuesday near Excelsior pass by Church Mountain, a few miles northwest of Mount Baker. The avalanche was triggered at about the 5,300 foot level and swept the five snowmobilers several hundred feet down the slope.

"I was told it is a considerable area that broke off and I was told it's probably a good 45-50 degree slope that this occurred on, so it's pretty steep," said Whatcom County Sheriff's deputy Mark Jilk.

The victims are 63-year-old Danny Woods of Custer and 43-year-old Sheila Rowe of Everett. Rowe was found dead about an hour after the snow slide.

Woods was found just after noon Wednesday. Officials say he is a long-standing member of Whatcom County Search and Rescue. He was considered to be familiar with the area and had the necessary survival skills. Officials say Woods recently obtained an avalanche beacon, but it was unclear if he had been wearing it.

Woods' son was believed to be with the group at the time of the avalanche.

One of the victims who survived suffered a leg injury and was buried in the snow, but was able to get free.

About 50 searchers trekked more than 10 miles into the backcountry, using snowmobiles and dogs

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1 dead, 1 missing in avalanche near Mt. Baker

12:24 PM PST on Wednesday, January 2, 2008 Staff

Volunteers are searching the Excelsior Pass area north of Mount Baker. NEAR MOUNT BAKER, Wash. ? Volunteers are searching today for a missing snowmobiler after an avalanche that killed a woman on New Year's Day.

The Whatcom County Sheriff's office says the victims were part of a group of five snowmobilers caught in the avalanche near Excelsior Pass by Church Mountain around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The avalanche was triggered at about the 5,300 foot level and swept the snowmobilers several hundred feet down the slope.

One of the victims suffered an injured leg and was buried in the snow, but was able to free themselves.

The body of the woman was found about an hour later in six feet of snow by homing in on her avalanche beacon. The other two people were not hurt and tried for two hours to find their missing companion before sending someone for help.

About 20 volunteers along with friends and family are now searching for the missing person.

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Searchers hunt for snowmobiler missing in avalanche

By The Associated Press

BELLINGHAM ? Whatcom County sheriff's deputies are looking for a snowmobiler who is missing after an avalanche Tuesday that killed another snowmobiler north of Mount Baker.

Sheriff's Deputy George Ratayczak says 20 volunteers have resumed the search.

The avalanche hit a group of five snowmobilers and swept them several hundred feet downhill in the Excelsior Pass area. They were on a slope at the 5,300-foot level in five to six feet of snow.

Rescuers found the body of a woman who was wearing an avalanche beacon. One person had a minor leg injury and two others were uninjured