Misstep by avalanche professional led to death
A report on the first death of a Utah avalanche forecaster in the backcountry suggests the highway worker was turning away from a dangerous slope the moment it broke loose.
The Utah Avalanche Center says 34-year-old Craig Patterson was approaching a 45-degree chute when he was sucked into the slide path.
Patterson was under 10,403-foot Kessler Peak, which can send avalanches tumbling to a highway below in Big Cottonwood Canyon east of Salt Lake City. He was found dead Friday with head injuries.
Utah Avalanche Center director Bruce Tremper says Patterson got caught on an indistinct ridgeline where only a foot or two separated safe from extremely unstable slow. Tremper says the accident could have happened to anybody.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.