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Utah Snow Probed for Avalanche Victims

Associated Press
Sunday, January 16, 2005; Page A04

PARK CITY, Utah, Jan. 15 -- Rescue workers spent Saturday digging through a massive snow pile but found no traces of five people feared dead in a 300-yard-wide, 500-yard-long avalanche that cascaded down a Utah mountainside a day earlier.

How many skiers were buried in the Friday afternoon snowslide remained unclear. Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds said officials were still trying to match witness accounts to a list of skiers who were thought to be in the area when the avalanche happened.

Sheriff's Capt. Alan Siddoway said officials knew of five people who were unaccounted for when the search resumed Saturday morning.

Searchers found one victim, a Montana man in his twenties whose name was not released.

Six crews and rescue dogs poked the snow, 30 feet deep in some areas, in an area outside the boundary of the Canyons resort on federal land in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

There is a high risk of more avalanches, and volunteers are "risking their lives trying to make a recovery," Edmunds said. "It's very frustrating because these kids should not have been in that area. This was an area that was roped off and signed, and they just chose to ignore it."

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