[PHOTOS] 2 People Seriously Injured After Avalanche Carries and Buries Snowcat in Utah Backcountry

AvyBrains | | AvalancheAvalanche
snowcat avalanche
Credit: UAC

At approximately 12:30 on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office responded to a large avalanche in the area of Gold Ridge near Hardscrabble Creek. The incident involved seven Morgan County residents on two snowcats.

The avalanche buried one of the snowcats that was carrying two individuals. Thanks to the fast thinking of the five individuals on the other snowcat, they could rescue the first individual (who was transported by ambulance to a hospital with a head injury but was in stable condition). They could dig a hole so the 2nd individual could breathe even though his leg was trapped under the snowcat.

snowcat avalanche
Credit: UAC

Rescue teams arrived within an hour and were able to extricate the individual that was trapped under the snowcat. This took coordination and transportation of firefighters and EMTs, “The Jaws of Life,” sawzalls, and other heavy rescue equipment through approximately five miles of deep snow from the staging area to the scene. Snowmobiles and tracked UTVs helped to transport all of these people and equipment to the location of the avalanche.

Airlife Utah could land, make contact, triage, and treat both patients while waiting for the rest of the resources to arrive at the scene. Utah DPS hoisted both injured parties to await medical resources. The critical patient freed from under the snowcat was taken to an area hospital by medical helicopter with a significant leg injury. The second patient was transported via ambulance with a head injury and is stable. There were no fatalities. Despite the challenging conditions and the treacherous terrain, personnel worked diligently to ensure everyone involved was rescued safely.

snowcat avalanche
View of the tipped snowcat and path rescuers used to reach it. Credit: Morgan County Fire & EMS

Morgan County Fire and EMS would like to remind all individuals who engage in outdoor winter activities to take proper precautions and always be prepared for the possibility of an avalanche. It’s important to remember that avalanches can happen to anyone, regardless of their level of experience or equipment. We encourage everyone always to check the weather and snow conditions, carry essential safety equipment, and stay within designated areas.

Morgan County Fire & EMS would like to thank all the agencies that assisted with the rescue operation, including Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Morgan Utah, Utah Highway Patrol-DPS Aero Bureau, AirLife Utah, Utah Department of Natural Resources, Weber Area Dispatch 911 & Emergency Services District, Morgan County Search and Rescue, Weber County Sheriff’s Office, and Weber County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue.

The US has seen 22 avalanche-related fatalities in the US this season, including two in Utah and 34 in North America.


Overview of the avalanche on Gold Ridge. Credit: Morgan County Fire & EMS
Gold Ridge, Morgan County, UT.
Patient #1 being hoisted by DPS. Credit: Morgan County Fire & EMS

Patient #2 being hoisted by DPS. Credit: Morgan County Fire & EMS
Credit: UAC
Credit: UAC

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