COOKE CITY, Mont. – An 18-year-old teen from Lake Lillian died Tuesday afternoon after being buried in an avalanche while snowmobiling.
The name of the man has not yet been released.
The Yellowstone Park Dispatch received a report about 4 p.m. Tuesday of a buried snowmobiler buried in an avalanche in the Daisy Pass/Crown Butte area near Cook City, according to the Park County Sheriff’s Department.
Five members of the Park County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue based in Cooke City responded to the scene and began probing operations about 4:15 p.m.
The snowmobiler was located about 5:10 p.m. near the toe of the debris field, about 6 feet below the surface, according sheriff’s department. Rescuers performed CPR on the victim, but were unable to revive him. He was not wearing a rescue beacon.
The victim was snowmobiling with a group of friends. He was sitting on his snowmobile about halfway up the slope when he was overtaken by the avalanche.
Another member of the snowmobile party tried to outrun the avalanche and was knocked off his snowmobile and into some trees. He was slightly injured, but was not buried.
The avalanche area is part of the Gallatin National Forest, which is part of the Greater Yellowstone Area.
This avalanche appears to have been remotely triggered and started near the peak of Crown Butte, according to the sheriff’s department. Officials consider this a large avalanche and estimate its dimensions to be 500 feet wide, 600 feet long and 20 feet deep in areas.
The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center is sending a team of investigators to the avalanche area today.
The center reports that there have been five avalanche fatalities in Montana this year, four of them in the last 18 days.