- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

CORTEZ, Colo. (AP) - Rescuers were searching for a snowmobiler who was buried by an avalanche in southwestern Colorado on Wednesday.

Four other snowmobilers were caught in the slide in the La Plata Mountains but dug themselves out, the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Department said.

Ten rescuers and a search dog were on the scene.

Sheriff Dennis Spruell told the Cortez Journal (https://tinyurl.com/knej8pf) the five snowmobilers were on a tour that left Mancos Wednesday morning and had ridden about 20 miles when the slide hit.

The Mancos Fire District received a call seeking help about 1 p.m., Spruell said.

Two helicopters were assisting with the search and transporting some of the rescue team, he said.

It was the second time in two days an avalanche has trapped people in the Colorado backcountry.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said a ski patrol member at the Wolf Creek resort died Tuesday while doing research outside the ski area boundary in southern Colorado.

His name hasn’t been released. The nature of the research he was doing wasn’t immediately known.

The man’s research partner and two other ski patrol members dug him out, the center said. He was flown to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The center, which tracks national statistics, says he was the seventh person killed by an avalanche in Colorado this winter and the 19th killed nationwide.

On Sunday, 68-year-old Michel Colville died two days after a slide destroyed her home in Missoula, Mont. Two other people were buried but survived.

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