Two people were killed yesterday in an avalanche in the Seeley Lake area of Montana. A third snowmobiler, who called 911, survived without injury.
The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office reported that shortly after 2:15 pm on Wednesday 911 dispatchers received a call from a person who said he had been snowmobiling in the Dinah Lake area when he got caught in an avalanche. The caller indicated he was able to get out but that two others were buried in the slide.
Seeley-Swan Search and Rescue, Missoula County Search and Rescue, Missoula Emergency Services and the Seeley Fire Department attended and found the individuals.
“Search and rescue crews are making their way to the avalanche affected area, but weather conditions are extremely tough. The National Weather Service has predicted that search conditions through this evening into tonight will include wet snow and windy conditions. Wind speeds are expected to reach up to 60 miles per hour. The wet nature of the snow will result in compacting accumulation, but an additional 6 to 10 inches of snow are expected tonight with 1 to 3 inches on Thursday. Temperatures will slowly cool tonight, with wind chill readings possibly approaching zero by the early morning hours Thursday. Please keep these folks in your thoughts as they head up into tough conditions.”
The Sheriff’s Office says that the names of the deceased will not be released until all family members have had the proper notification. They added: “Please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers.”
The avalanche danger is rated high in several areas of Missoula County according to the National Weather Service. Very dangerous avalanche conditions exist and travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.
The deaths are the third and fourth avalanche fatalities this winter season in North America.