Skier Dead In Avalanche Cannot Be Recovered Due To Heavy Snow, Unstable Conditions

A skier is dead in an avalanche that took place in the early evening hours of Saturday, December 6, 2014, in the Rainbow Mountains. The victim has preliminarily been identified as 35-year-old Eric Peterson of Delta Junction. Peterson had reportedly been skiing with his friend, 63-year-old Michael Hopper, when tragedy struck. The pair were in the area of milepost 205 of the Richardson Highway in Alaska when they heard a “whoomp” sound and were buried in the sudden crush of snow, reported Alaska Dispatch News.

Hopper was trapped beneath the snow for several hours before he was able to dig himself out, according to an ABC News report. When he found Peterson’s glove, he kept digging until he located the body of his friend. Unfortunately, the other skier had died in the avalanche.

Alaska State Troopers said the sole survivor of the avalanche was able to flag down a passing motorist on the Richardson Highway after the skier found his companion dead. They contacted Fairbanks troopers at 6:21 p.m., who responded to the scene.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, a man died tragically in Everett, Washington, earlier this year when he was crushed to death by recyclables at a recycling plant. A worker at the Fibres International paper recycling center found the man’s lifeless body in a bin of materials stored in a warehouse and immediately phoned Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office to report the discovery. The man’s official cause of death was blunt force crushing injuries of the head and trunk, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The body believed to be that of Eric Peterson, the skier presumed dead in the avalanche, could not immediately be retrieved due to hazardous conditions. Before the body is recovered, officials need to evaluate the conditions in the area. Currently, the heavy snow at the site of the avalanche is unstable, making recovery difficult if not impossible.

“The area Hopper was skiing in is widely unstable and continuing to deteriorate with the additional heavy snowfall. AST will attempt to recover the body when the weather and conditions permit…. [The Division of Alaska State Troopers] AST is evaluating weather and avalanche conditions prior to putting resources out to conduct a potential body recovery,” according to the Alaska State Troopers Press Release of Saturday, December 06, 2014.

The press release further notes that Peterson has not been positively identified, and his next of kin has not been notified.

[Image via morgueFile]