2 snowshoers killed in Colorado avalanche

The deadly avalanche was 400 feet wide, officials said.

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

The two, whose names were not immediately released, 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 snow, according to a statement from the Summit County Rescue Group.

The snowshoers and their dog were reported missing on Saturday after not returning from their outing, officials said.

Summit County Sheriff’s Deputies and about 33 members of the Summit County Rescue volunteer group immediately launched a search for missing persons after they found their car in a parking lot in the popular hiking area, authorities said.

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

“An avalanche rescue dog located both snowshoers and their dogs, all of whom were completely buried in avalanche debris. All were dead,” the Summit County Rescue Group statement said.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center announced 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 up the mountain, officials said.

At least eight people have been killed in avalanches in the United States since December 11, including two snowmobilers who were killed at Scotch Bonnet Mountain in Montana on December 27 and an off-piste skier whose body was found on December 24. December in the Diamond Peaks. in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

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

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