Authorities said an avalanche killed four skiers and injured four others in a popular recreation area, making it one of the deadliest avalanches in Utah history.
The Unified Police Department said it was alerted to the avalanche at about 11:40 a.m. after receiving a faint distress call from the Avalanche Lighthouse in Millecreek Canyon.
A skier avalanche swept up eight people in their early twenties to late thirties who were in two groups roaming the countryside, Sgt, Unified Police. Melody Cutler told the Salt Lake Tribune.
The avalanche occurred at 9,800 feet (2,987 meters). It is 2.5 feet (0.7 meters) deep and 250 feet (76 meters) wide.
Management said all eight skiers have avalanche beacons.
The administration said that survivors managed to get themselves out of the snow and ice, but their medical conditions are unknown. The ministry added that the survivors were able to find and pull out the other four, but they were already dead.
Search and rescue teams from several agencies are working to recover bodies.
The names of the victims were not revealed yet.
Drew Hardesti of the Utah Avalanche Tribune Center told the victims that the victims were experienced skiers and well known in the community.
The Utah Avalanche Center considered the risk of an avalanche in the area “high.” Hours before the avalanche, I posted on Twitter a warning that there was “a high risk. Large natural avalanches overnight. Dangerous avalanches. Keep at a low angle.”
A total of 20 people nationwide died in avalanches during the 2020-2021 season, 16 of them were skiers or snowboarders, police said, and the bodies of three men were found among the wreckage of an avalanche near Anchorage, Alaska.
And that the last time four people were killed in an avalanche in Utah was on February 13, 1992, at the Gold Basin outside Moab, according to the Utah Avalanche Center. They were part of a volunteer avalanche monitoring team with the US Forest Service.
In 2003, three died in an avalanche that engulfed 15 people in Provo Canyon near Sundance Resort in Utah.
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said in a statement, “We are saddened by the tragic news that four people were killed as a result of an avalanche in the Milcreek Canyon this afternoon.” “We deeply regret the loss of life due to this devastating accident.”
Governor Spencer Cox said on Twitter that the accident is “a terrible tragedy and we are praying to the victims and the families concerned. We are grateful to the first responders and others who have participated in this rescue and recovery effort. With the risk of avalanche now high, please be very careful.”
The Police Department said Millcreek Canyon is closed for recreation, but restaurants and businesses in the valley will remain open.