Two snowmobilers dead in avalanche near Grand Lake
December 28, 2008
Two snowmobilers are dead after getting trapped in an avalanche near Grand Lake.
A call for help to Grand County Dispatch came in at 2:40 p.m. Saturday, reporting the avalanche and two missing snomobilers.
The avalanche was triggered by four snowmobilers riding between Gravel Mountain and Little Gravel Mountain near Grand Lake.
Three of them were caught in the slide. One was partially buried and was able to self-rescue, according to Greg Foley of Grand County Search and Rescue.
When Search and Rescue arrived at the scene, bystanders had been able to dig out one of the snowmobilers and were doing CPR, Foley said.
“They were in a place that was very dangerous, where the avalanche danger was considerable to high,” Foley said.
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It took rescuers an hour and 45 minutes to find and dig out the second snowmobiler.
The two who were buried, Brian Kopp, 38, of Larkspur, and Mark Goetz, 19, of Arvada, were declared dead at the scene.
“We hate it when this kind of thing happens,” Foley said, “but they were in a bad place at a bad time and they had no beacons on.
“If they had beacons on, it’s possible they could have been saved.”
Recent snows and winds have raised the risk of avalanches in parts of Colorado’s mountains. The risk near Grand Lake and much of the Grand County backcountry is rated as considerable.
Foley encourages snowmobilers and skiers to check the avalanche danger before heading into the backcountry and carry the right equipment
The Web site for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center is updated twice a day. Visit http://avalanche.state.co.us/index.php