Tragedy Strikes In Kittitas County During Avalanche
The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office made a sad announcement Sunday afternoon following word of an avalanche.
Members from the Kittitas County Sheriff's Search & Rescue responded to the Stampede Pass area Sunday afternoon when five snowmobilers were swept in an avalanche while eating lunch at the base of the slope.
The group, friends from Western Washington, were sledding in the area of Mirror Lake, which is located South of I-90 and Lake Keechelus. They stopped for a break and to have some lunch when the slope above them broke free, according to the KCSO.
"We would like to remind those of you who recreate in the back country to be cautious of the past and current conditions, as they can change rapidly and without warning," Kittitas County Undersheriff Myers said Sunday evening. "Avalanche conditions are often the result of previous weather, sometimes from weeks prior. We encourage you to research and educate yourselves from the many sources available. Just Google ‘Avalanche Danger'."
Authorities say when the slide stopped, 32 year old Joseph Simenstad, his wife, 30 year old Sabel Simenstad of Issaquah and 24 year old Josh Winter of Snohomish were fully buried. 29 year old Tyler Johnson of Renton and another man, whose name is not known at this time, were partially buried.
Authorities report that working with others in the area, all the victims were dug out. Rescuers said Josh Winter was unconscious when recovered but they were able to revive him. Mrs. Simenstad suffered minor injuries, but her husband, Joseph, had suffered extensive trauma and could not be revived.
"On behalf of the Sheriff's Office, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Mr. Simenstad as they work through the loss of their loved one," Myers said.