Detailed Accident Report

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Date: 2010-01-02
Submitted By:
Place: Paulina Peak east of La Pine
State: OR
Country: USA
Fatalities: 1
Summary: 1 snowmobiler caught, buried, and killed


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Avalanche Kills Snowmobile Rider from La Pine

1/4/09-La Pine

"He loved to travel, he loved to be fearless. He loved extreme sports. He rode dirt bikes, snowmobiles, everything he did it," says Ronnie Amos brother of Wesley.

Words to describe 28 year old Wesley Amos of La Pine who died Saturday afternoon while trapped underneath snow from an avalanche on Paulina Peak east of La Pine.

He was snowmobiling in an area known as Roller Coaster south of the Obsidian Flow.

Authorities notified his brother late Saturday night about the accident.

"They told me that my brother was killed and I didn't know what to say. I didn't believe it.He was my best friend," says Ronnie Amos.

Working for Tahoe Industries Amos was often traveling for work selling equipment.

Home for the holidays, he made plans with his brother to snowmobile on Sunday but decided to go up by himself for a few hours Saturday.

His mother is now wearing his cross and a ring his was wearing around her neck in his honor.

"He was very loving, very kind, very compassionate with people. He had a heart of gold and a mother couldn't ask for any more than that," says Lori Amos-Williams, Wesley's Mother.

His 4 year old dog Fiona was his pal. She'll now live with Wesley's brother.

His family hopes that others will learn from their tragedy.

"Take time with your kids while you can. That's my greatest hope is that families out there will acknowledge what's going on. Ya know he loved what he was doing and and he would want everyone to continue with what they are doing but do it safely," says Dwight Williams, Wesley's Stepfather.

1/3/2010 - La Pine

An avalanche near Paulina lake claims the life of a snowmobile rider from La Pine. Wesley Amos, a twenty eight year old from La Pine, was riding in an area known as "Roller Coaster" when a two hundred yard wide avalanche swept down the slope. Witnesses, feared Amos had been trapped and called Deschutes County Search and Rescue for help. Before rescue crews arrived, Amos had been found dead.

"At that point we began making preparations for a recovery effort trying to locate his machine and the next step, obviously, trying to ensure there was nobody else trapped beneath the snow."

Search and rescue teams and Deschutes County Sheriff deputies determined Amos had been riding alone and no one else had been caught in the avalanche. Amos was an experienced snowmobile rider, riding in a popular area.

Media Release

Snowmobile rider killed in avalanche

LOCATION: Paulina Peak

La Pine, Oregon

DATE: 01/02/10

TIME: 1430 Hours

Deceased: Amos, Wesley Bryan age: 28

AGENCIES: Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue, and US Forest Service.

On January 2, 2010 at approximately 1430 hours, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a lone snowmobile rider trapped beneath the snow in the area of Paulina Peak, south of the Obsidian flow, and in a riding area referred to as "Roller Coaster". Information received by 911 dispatch, stated a single male snowmobile rider was witnessed to have been trapped beneath the snow following an avalanche.

Witnesses to the event made immediate attempts to locate the rider in the area they had last witnessed him. After approximately 15-20 minutes of searching for the rider, witnesses who were not associated with this rider, found him deceased as a result of being buried beneath the snow. Sheriff's Office Deputies and SAR members were responding at the same time to provide emergency assistance. 19 volunteer SAR members provided Sheriff's deputies and witnesses with assistance in identifying the rider as Wesley Amos, as well as the recovery of Amos' body.

At this time there is no information to indicate anyone else being with Amos at the time of this incident. During the course of the investigation SAR members and Sheriff's deputies made further efforts to assure Amos was the only person trapped beneath the snow as a result of this avalanche. The avalanche was estimated to be approximately 200 yards in width and to have occurred in what has been described as a more technical snowmobile riding area. Amos was reported to be an experienced snow mobile rider and to be operating his own snowmobile.

The Sheriff's Office reminds those who recreate in winter wilderness areas to be extremely cautious of changing conditions, to be properly equipped for the conditions, and knowledgeable of the areas where they will recreate.

Prepared by: Lieutenant Michael Espinoza

Deschutes County Sheriff's Office