2 snowshoers, dog killed in Colorado avalanche identified

The deadly avalanche measured 400 feet wide, officials said.

January 11, 2022, 12:53 PM

The bodies of two people and a dog killed when they were buried by a 400-foot-wide avalanche while snowshoeing in the Colorado mountains have been recovered, authorities said.

A man and woman killed were found on Sunday afternoon at the 11,700-foot level of North Star Mountain about 90 miles west of Denver when a search dog detected their bodies buried in the snow, according to a statement from the Summit County Rescue Group.

The snowshoers and their dog were reported missing on Saturday when they failed to return from their outing, officials said.

PHOTO: The site of an avalanche accident where two snowshoers were killed on January 8, 2022.
The site of an avalanche accident where two snowshoers were killed on January 8, 2022.
Courtesy of Summit County Rescue Group

In a statement to ABC News on Tuesday, Summit County Coroner Regan Wood identified the victims as Hannah Nash, 25, and Drake Oversen, 35, both of Colorado Springs, and their dog, Valerie.

"The manner of death is accidental and the cause of death is blunt force trauma and asphyxiation due to an avalanche of snow and debris," Wood said in the statement.

Summit County Sheriff's deputies and about 33 members of the volunteer Summit County Rescue group immediately launched a search for the missing people after finding their car in a parking lot of the popular hiking area, authorities said.

A helicopter crew spotted what appeared to be faint tracks in an area of interest on a flank of North Star Mountain where there had recently been an avalanche and deployed two avalanche dog search teams.

"An avalanche rescue dog located both snowshoers and their dog, all of whom were completely buried by avalanche debris. All were deceased," the statement from the Summit County Rescue Group said.

PHOTO: A rescuer at the site of the avalanche accident where two snowshoers were killed on Jan. 8, 2022.
A rescuer at the site of the avalanche accident where two snowshoers were killed on Jan. 8, 2022.
Courtesy of Summit County Rescue Group

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said it plans to send a team on Monday to inspect the area.

A preliminary report estimated the avalanche was about 400 feet wide and slid about 250 vertical feet down the mountainside, officials said.

At least eight people have been killed in avalanches in the United States since Dec. 11, including two snowmobilers who were killed on Scotch Bonnet Mountain in Montana on Dec. 27 and a backcountry skier whose body was recovered on Dec. 24 in the Diamond Peaks area in Colorado's Rocky Mountains, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

ABC News' Jeffrey Cook and Marilyn Heck contributed to this report.

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