Woman dies in Colorado avalanche, second slide fatality in week

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 07, 2015 2:21 PM

DENVER (Reuters) - A 20-year-old cross country skier died after she was swept away in an avalanche in southwest Colorado, authorities said on Wednesday, the second snow slide fatality in the state in a week.

Olivia Buchanan was pronounced dead Tuesday night at a hospital after she was airlifted from Kendall Mountain, outside the town of Silverton, San Miguel County Coroner Keri Metzler told Reuters.

Buchanan's death marks the second fatality from an avalanche in the state this season.  A snowshoer was killed last week after he was buried in a slide in Clear Creek County.

According to an incident report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, Buchanan was back-country skiing with a group on Tuesday when the slide hit as they were descending the Rabbit Ears avalanche path at an elevation of 11,000 feet.

Buchanan was seriously hurt when she was “washed into a stand of trees,” the report said.  She was alive when rescuers reached her Tuesday night but died from her injuries.

An autopsy on Buchanan will be conducted later this week, Metzler said.

Four people have died so far this season in snow slides in the United States, the avalanche center said, compared to 35 last season.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Bill Trott)