Update: Alamosa News reports that “Conejos County Sheriff Garth Crowther confirmed a body was recovered today at 11:30 a.m. from the avalanche that occurred near La Manga Pass on February 25.”
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports that a snowmobiler is missing after being caught and buried in an avalanche close to Red Lakes trailhead near La Manga Pass in Colorado on Saturday, Feb. 25.
The search for the missing rider is ongoing.
A report reads, “Staff from the Conejos County Sheriff’s Office, USFS, and Conejos County Search and Rescue searched the area on the evening of February 25. The group returned with more people, avalanche dog teams from the Wolf Creek Ski Area, forecasters from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, and many members of the local community on February 26. Search efforts are ongoing. We will update this report when more information is available.”
Update from Conejos County Sheriff’s Office:
On Feb. 25 at approximately 2:30 p.m. the Conejos County Sheriff’s Office received an S.O.S notification of an avalanche with people buried. Using coordinates from the S.O.S signal, the location was determined to be near the Red Lake Trail on Cumbres Pass. Sheriff’s Office personnel responded to the area and set up a command post on Colorado Highway 17.
A medical helicopter was stationed at the command post. Sheriff’s Office personnel responded to the scene using a snowcat along with search and rescue members on snowmobiles. A large number of friends and volunteers also responded on snowmobiles.
Information gathered at the command post determined there was a group of people in the back country snowmobiling when the avalanche occurred.
Kevin Gray, 45, of Antonito was buried by the avalanche, and was unable to escape.
Probing and rescue attempts by responders were preformed until after dark but were unsuccessful in finding the missing snowmobiler.
The Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue members along with family and volunteers returned to the scene Sunday morning. A massive effort by rescuers along with search dogs and avalanche specialists were deployed to the area to assist.
The search continued into the afternoon until blizzard conditions forced the operation to stop.
Efforts will continue on Monday, Feb. 27, weather permitting.
Sheriff Crowther would like to thank the community members and businesses for their support and donations during the search. Cases of drinks, food and supplies were donated. The number of people who are responding to help is amazing and appreciated by all.