Rescuers warn of avalanche dangers even with avalanche safety gear

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Rescuers warn of avalanche dangers even with avalanche safety gear. (Visual: KUTV)

Search and rescue volunteers are warning people to take avalanche condition warnings extremely seriously. Saturday 18-year-old Chase Adams was killed in an avalanche while snowmobiling in Davis County.

Rescuers there say snowmobilers are at the highest risk of avalanche deaths.

Chase was snowmobiling with his dad, Ben Adams, when an avalanche was triggered in Farmington Canyon.

Search and rescue volunteers said he was buried under around 12 feet of snow.

"The amount of snow, just in sheer weight, I think most people wouldn't believe the amount of work that has to go in,’ said Doug Shipley, a Davis County search and rescue volunteer.

The first two search and rescue volunteers to the scene said it all happened extremely fast.

They were flown in after a father called 911. Rescuers were on scene in around fifteen minutes, they say other snowmobilers were already digging trying to reach the snowmobiler. They were able to locate him from his avalanche beacon signal.

“Our hearts go out to the guys that were working. Cause they were working extremely hard to the point where they just couldn’t dig anymore,” said Shipley.

Rescuers eventually reached Chase, who was not breathing. He was flown to the hospital but did not survive.

His father said in a statement “I am an extremely strong man and in the moment of physical need to save my son my strength availed nothing."

The rescue volunteers said Chase was not the first person snowmobiling there that day. They said there were tracks to the right and left of where he was.

"It's easy to get fooled, when you see tracks on a hill it makes you think it's OK to ride on it and sometime the people who made those first tracks just got lucky,” said Steve Petty, a Davis County search and rescue volunteer.

First responders said Adams had an avalanche beacon and an airbag. The airbag is meant to deploy and bring the person to the surface. First responders were told he did deploy his, but because of the geography, he was buried by too much snow very quickly.