Three dead, up to 8 missing in Washington state

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 19, 2012 5:48 PM
Three dead, up to 8 missing in Washington state

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Three people were killed and as many as eight others were missing on Sunday after an avalanche near a Washington state ski resort, authorities said.

King County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cindi West said the avalanche struck near the Stevens Pass ski area and that rescue crews were on the scene.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Keith Leary said the snow came down at a road about 2 miles from the resort and about 10 miles from the town of Skykomish.

The Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center warned on Sunday of high avalanche danger above 5,000 feet in the Stevens Pass area, with considerable danger at lower altitudes.

The center said heavy snowfall of 30 to 35 inches in the area in recent days triggered the avalanches.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Tim Gaynor and Peter Cooney)