3 Eagle County leaders identified as victims in southwest Colorado avalanche

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SAN JUAN COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Eagle County and the Town of Eagle released the names of three men who were killed in an avalanche in southwest Colorado earlier this week. All three were prominent members of the Eagle County community.

“While an official announcement has not yet been made by our partners in San Juan County, the families of Seth Bossung, Andy Jessen and Adam Palmer are allowing us to share their names so we can all openly acknowledge their deaths and grieve together,” the governments said in a joint statement issued Wednesday.

Palmer and Jessen were both members of Eagle Town Council.

Bossung and Palmer were Eagle County employees; Jessen co-owned Bonfire Brewing in Eagle.

The avalanche occurred Monday in an area near Silverton locally known as “The Nose,” according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC).

One person was recovered with minor injuries. The remaining three victims were caught, carried and fully buried in the debris, according to the CAIC.

About 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, the San Juan County of Emergency Management confirmed search and rescue crews had found the victims’ bodies.

“The skiers were wearing beacons which enabled a successful identifiable location. They were buried in 20 plus feet of avalanche debris. Due to the rugged terrain and avalanche debris, a helicopter retrieval of the three skiers is now required,” the office said.

Poor weather conditions have prevented a helicopter from reaching the area as of Wednesday night.

The three men are being remembered for their work in local government and business, as well as by their families and friends, government officials said.

“Every single one of us in both of our organizations has learned by their examples, and we are grateful to be able to call them colleagues,” the governments said in the statement.

Eagle Mayor Scott Turnipseed spoke during a news conference Wednesday evening. He said he served alongside Jessen in Town Council for four years.

“I’m going to deeply, deeply miss him on the council,” Turnipseed said.

The mayor knew Palmer and Bossung personally as well.

“Our entire hearts, all of everybody in town, goes out to their family and their loved ones,” Turnipseed said.

Those in need of support for the loss are encouraged to contact Eagle Valley Behavioral Health. Funds are available through Olivia’s Fund for those who might need financial assistance.

Additionally, GoFundMe accounts have been established for Bossung, Palmer and Jessen.

Gov. Jared Polis issued the following statement Wednesday night:

“Those tragically lost in this avalanche were pillars of their community, public servants and friends to many. My thoughts are with their families, friends, and the Eagle County community during what must be a heart-wrenching and unimaginable moment.”

Search and rescue crews asked people to avoid the Ophir Pass area.

The San Juan County Coroner’s Office will officially identify the victims.

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