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Details emerging in fatal Northwest Montana avalanche

Swan Fatal Avalanche Map
Posted at 10:50 AM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 17:01:18-05

KALISPELL — We are beginning to learn more information about an avalanche in the Swan Mountain Range on Saturday that left one snowmobiler dead.

Observation notes made available from the Flathead Avalanche Center indicate the avalanche was triggered by a snowmobiler in Wounded Buck Creek, north of Wildcat Lake.

The rider was caught, carried and buried in the avalanche while three other members of the party were also caught and partially buried according to Flathead Avalanche observation notes.

After extricating themselves, the three other members of the party searched for the buried rider up the slope where they found part of his backpack visible in the debris. The three other members were able to locate and uncover the buried snowmobiler.

Despite resuscitation efforts, the buried rider did not survive.

Flathead Avalanche Center observation notes said that bad weather and dangerous avalanche conditions prevented rescuers from reaching the scene until Sunday morning.

Law enforcement recovered the victim’s body early Sunday morning via helicopter.

An Avalanche Warning in the Swan, Whitefish and Flathead Mountain Ranges has been extended through Tuesday at 6:30 a.m.