Detailed Accident Report

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Date: 2008-02-08
Submitted By: SNFAC
Place: Garden Valley
State: ID
Country: USA
Fatalities: 1
Summary: 77 yr. old man was killed in roof avalanche

Garden Valley, Idaho Feb. 9th 2008.

A 77 yr. old man was killed when the porch on his home was pushed over from snow load on the roof. The victim suffered trauma to his head and neck from the wooden structure of the porch. As the snow released from the roof it pushed the porch over, pinning him to the ground, the snow load from the roof followed and completely covered the man and the portion of the structure on top of him. Rescuers had to dig through the snow deposited by the roof in order to find and reach the victim.

A 2nd Roof Avalanche in Idaho:

2 miles North of Placerville, Idaho Feb. 11th 2008

At 1:00 in the afternoon with warming temperatures a 4' deep block of snow measuring 16' x 30' released from a roof completely burying a woman. The woman was standing 6 feet from the building, heard the snow start to slide, was able only to turn away when she was immediately engulfed by snow. As she was pushed to the ground face first she was able to put her arms up creating an air pocket for herself. Her 30 year old son was in the adjacent woodshed. Snow slid onto this shed collapsing 1/2 of it. The son was struck by a rafter but was able to quickly exit the woodshed. He began digging with his hands for his mother. They were able to talk to each other through the snow with her initially saying "I'm right here" and then directing him toward her head. He uncovered her face within 2 minutes from 2' of snow and the rest of her body within about 5 minutes with his hands! She suffered a spiral fracture of her femur and was lifeflighted to Boise. This is a remote location and if the son had not been able to reach her or had not been there it could have been a long time before anyone noticed what had happened.

Jon Barker

ITD Avalanche Supervisor