CONEJOS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Friends of 45-year-old Kevin Gray spent days searching for him after they said Gray was caught in an avalanche while snowmobiling up on La Manga Pass Saturday.
“I got the call Saturday night from one of my good friends who was actually riding on the mountain with him. The avalanche started around 3 p.m. on Saturday,” Klayton Gosar, a friend of Gray and fellow snowmobiler said.
Gosar said right away the friend riding with Gray started searching for him but he said Gray wasn’t wearing a beacon.
“So locating him was like finding a needle in a haystack, it was really difficult,” Gosar said.
Colorado Avalanche Information Center along with Gosar confirmed Gray’s snowmobile was found on Saturday, but not Gray. Gosar said the search continued into Saturday with rescue crews and volunteers.
Gosar said around 80 people total showed up to find Gray. He said Wolf Creek Ski Patrol also brought dogs to help in the search.
“We did get some hits with the dogs, so we dug some massive holes thinking we were going to find him,” Gosar said.
Matt Entz, the owner of Mountain Skillz, and a friend of Gosar’s also came up to help with the search for Gray.
“We split into groups of people who had training experience and those who didn’t. We then paired people who had training with those who didn’t,” Entz said.
Gosar said Sunday a bad snowstorm started coming in that could create avalanche risks so they called off the search for Sunday but returned Monday morning to continue.
“He loved being in the mountains and riding snowmobiles,” Gosar said.
On Monday, Gosar said he, along with another friend, were probing around the area when they finally found Gray.
“Once Kevin was found, that came out over the radio and we tried to keep everyone calm and collective,” Entz said.
Several volunteers according Gosar started digging to recover his body.
“Kevin ended up being 15 yards below his snowmobile in a lot of debris in downed trees over top of him,” Gosar said. “He was about 110 centimeters — 3.5 feet — down when I probed him.”
Gosar said Gray leaves behind a wife, son and daughter. He has started a GoFundMe for the family. If you’d like to donate you can here.
So far this snow season, there have been seven avalanche-related deaths in Colorado.