Avalanche victims

Colorado Avalanche Victims’ Names Released By Authorities

The names of the five back-country snowboarders killed in a deadly avalanche in Colorado Saturday have been revealed by authorities.

Five individuals were killed in an avalanche near Loveland Pass, roughly 60 miles west of Denver on Saturday. On Sunday, authorities revealed the names of these victims. They are, according to NBC-affiliate KUSA: 36-year-old Ian Lanphere, 33-year-old Rick Gaukel, 31-year-old Chris Peters, 32-year-old Joe Timlin, and 33-year-old Ryan Novack.

All five men were Colorado residents.

A sixth member of the group survived the avalanche, and called for help after being buried in the snow. Without the sixth member, whose name has not been released, it could have been days or weeks before authorities even knew anyone had been killed.

“If he hadn’t gotten out, if he would’ve been buried too, it’s hard telling when we might’ve found out,” said Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger.

The authorities said that the snowboarders were hiking a drainage area called Sheep Creek when they may have accidentally caused the avalanche. Investigators said that the avalanche was about 650 feet wide, more than 1,000 feet long and eight feet deep.

“It appears that they triggered the avalanche low down on the slope much like pulling a log out from the bottom of a wood pile,” said Dale Atkins, a member of the area’s Alpine Rescue Team. “It caused the avalanche and quite a large one to crash down on top of them.”

The Saturday avalanche was the deadliest in Colorado since 1962, when seven people were killed near Twin Lakes. The area where the avalanche occurred has seen four feet of new snow over the past several days.

[Image via: SirLyric, Wikimedia Commons]