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Sunday
Apr212013

Five Snowboarders Killed in Colorado Avalanche

Hemera/Thinkstock(LOVELAND PASS, Colo.) -- The bodies of snowboarders killed in an avalanche Saturday near Loveland Pass in Colorado have been recovered, officials tell ABC News.

Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger said that early Saturday afternoon, a group of six snowboarders ventured into an out-of-bounds zone above the Loveland Pass ski area, about 60 miles west of Denver.

The snowboarders triggered an avalanche that measured more than 200 yards wide and nearly 400 yards long, Krueger said. One snowboarder survived, but five others were trapped under about eight feet of snow.

The snowboarder who was rescued was only partially buried, and was able to get himself out and call for help, the sheriff said. The man had no outward signs of injury, was hospitalized, and went home, Krueger said.

The sheriff declined to release the name the survivor, who he said had told officials he was not ready to talk to the media, or the deceased, whose names will not be released until next of kin are notified.

Another snowboarder was killed after triggering an avalanche on Vail Pass on Thursday.

Saturday's avalanche was the second deadliest in the nation since 1950. The worst was in 1962 at Twin Lakes, when seven people were killed, according to statistics compiled by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, or CAIC.

Rescue teams were on the scene into the evening trying to reach the snowboarders, but were up against a heavy snowstorm in the Loveland Pass area, Krueger said.

Avalanche forecasters at the CAIC had predicted “considerable” danger on Saturday in the area where the slide took place, with warnings to carefully evaluate snowpack conditions, choose routes carefully and make conservative decisions before venturing out.

Before Saturday’s incident, nationwide 19 people have been killed this season by avalanches, according to the center.

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ABC News Radio