BYU student critical after being buried by avalanche

Published: Saturday, Feb. 8 2014 8:45 p.m. MST

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News Archives

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AMERICAN FORK — A woman was hospitalized in critical condition Saturday evening after being buried by an avalanche near the Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon, Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said.

Ashleigh Cox, a 21-year-old Brigham Young University student from Colorado Springs, Colo., was snowshoeing with a group of friends at approximately 5:40 p.m. when she was caught in the avalanche, Cannon said. The slide carried Cox into a stream where she was held underwater and covered in snow.

Cannon said Cox was buried for roughly 20 minutes before rescue crews arrived and it took another 20 minutes to retrieve her from the snow. Cox was discovered without a pulse and was not breathing. She was transported to the emergency room at American Fork Hospital where she was revived by medical staff.

She was later transported to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Cannon said, where she was listed in extremely critical condition.

Cannon said the slide was relatively short and narrow, extending roughly 80 yards, but was located on a steep hill. He said the location of the avalanche is not considered a back country or wilderness area but new snow in the area was wet and heavy.

"That makes it even harder to dig than normal snow would be in an avalanche," he said. "It wasn't a big one. It was just enough to get her caught up in it."

Additional avalanche activity closed State Routes 92 and 144 in American Fork. The Utah Avalanche Center issued a red-level advisory for Saturday, and reported several natural-occuring slides throughout the day along the Wasatch Front. Around 4 p.m., the Utah Avalanche Center reported that slide danger had become extreme in many areas.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Contributing: Nkoyo Iyamba

Email: benwood@deseretnews.com, Twitter: bjaminwood

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