Detailed Accident Report

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Date: 2005-04-30
Submitted By: Salt Lake County Sheriff?s S & R
Place: Brighton
State: UT
Country: USA
Summary: 2 people buried by roof avalanche and rescued alive

Brighton Roof Avalanche

April 30, 2005

On Saturday, April 30, 2005 at approximately 11:15 a father and son, ages 37 and 78, were ?poking? at the snow on the roof of a cabin in Brighton Utah. The cabin had a tin roof. They were on the north side of the building. The snow slid, burying both men under two to four feet of compacted snow and ice (?big sheets of ice?).

Family members inside the house heard the slide and quickly came outside. They could see the leg of the 37 year old man protruding from the snow and ?kicking.? They called for help. A neighbor who was plowing snow near their house came, as did several other people. Some of these people responded to verbal calls for help, I think some were called by neighbors. Somebody called 911 almost immediately. The Salt Lake County Sheriff?s Search and Rescue team was paged-out at 11:21. The call stated that there were three victims (it was thought that a child had also been buried). Three Sheriff?s deputies arrived within three minutes (two deputies were west of Silver Fork and one was at Guardsman?s pass). The deputies had shovels and probes.

The 37 victim was unburied within approximately five minutes of burial. He was buried under approximately two feet of snow. He was breathing shallowly and was cyanotic (?purple?).

Five to ten minutes later the rescuers uncovered the arm of the 78 year old man. They followed his arm to his head. He was cyanotic and breathing agonally. Other rescuers dug out the victims legs (which were buried under four feet of snow and large blocks of ice). Rescuers estimate his head was buried for 15 to 20 minutes.

At about this time rescuers were able to determine (via interviews) that there were only two victims.

County Fire handled patient care. Air ambulances were unable to land at Brighton due to the weather. The 78 year old patient was transferred to Airmed at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. The 37 year old victim was transported by ground.

See Photos at:

Steve Achelis

Vice Commander

Salt Lake County Sheriff?s Search and Rescue