Live video: Building collapse, possible explosion in Denver

One killed, one survives avalanche in Garfield County

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. -- One person was killed and another survived an avalanche in the far northeast corner of Garfield County on Tuesday, the Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office said.

Garfield County sheriff’s deputy Walt Stowe said Sean Searle, 41, of Franktown reported the avalanche a few miles south of Vaughn Lake in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area about 12:15 p.m., Steamboat Today reported.

Routt County search and rescue crews were dispatched to search the area near Sheriff Reservoir and a Classic Air Medical helicopter also was used.

Garfield County was notified when teams found the avalanche had happened in that county. After several hours, rescuers found boot prints leading up from the body and the word “help” was carved into the snow with an arrow pointed in a certain direction, the newspaper reported.

Searle was found about 4:15 p.m. He had been able to free himself from the slide and find the missing man. He dug him out and performed CPR, but it was too late.

Searle was then flown to a staging area about 5:15 p.m. He was not injured. Crews plan to retrieve the dead man's body on Wednesday morning.

It was the first avalanche fatality in Colorado this season. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said the avalanche danger was moderate at the time of the slide.


A man was killed in a snow slide in remote, extreme northeast Garfield County on Tuesday afternoon, the first Colorado avalanche fatality this year.