Man injured in Big Cottonwood avalanche

Published: Monday, Feb. 11 2013 12:10 a.m. MST

Paramedics load a patient into a waiting ambulance for transport to the hospital Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 after being caught in an avalanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Search and rescue personnel worked for hours to transport a man who was injured Sunday in a backcountry avalanche, Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said.

The man, who is 41 years old, was backcountry skiing with four friends in the Broad's Fork area of Big Cottonwood Canyon when he was caught in an avalanche around 2:30 p.m., Hoyal said. The man was buried up to his neck and suffered what appears to be a broken leg, Hoyal said, but was able to be dug out by the remaining members of his group.

"We don't believe they triggered (the avalanche), it just started above them," Hoyal said.

Hoyal said dispatchers were alerted to the scene shortly after the avalanche. Officials attempted to transport the man by helicopter, but were unable to reach the group due to the weather.

Search and rescue personnel were then called in to reach the group and carry the man out of the canyon, Hoyal said. At approximately 9:30 p.m., the rescue workers were able to reach a point where the man could be picked up by helicopter. He was then transferred to an ambulance, Hoyal said, and transported to a hospital.

Another man in the skiing party received minor cuts to his head, Hoyal said.

E-mail: benwood@desnews.com

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