Man caught in avalanche dies in hospital

March 2, 2012 at 8:37 PM
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TRUCKEE, Calif., March 2 (UPI) -- A man killed by an avalanche possibly triggered as he and two companions climbed a California mountain was identified as Benjamin Brackett, authorities said.

A wave of snow hit the three men Thursday as they apparently tried to climb a mountain in the backcountry near Alpine Meadows in the Tahoe National Forest in Placer County on skis, a technique known as skinning.

Rescuers from the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue team were able to reach the men about 90 minutes after the 3 p.m. accident was reported, finding one of them, Benjamin Brackett, 29, in critical condition, The Huffington Post reported.

The names of the other two skiers have not been released.

Authorities said Brackett had been carried nearly 300 feet down the mountain and thrown against a tree.

Sgt. Ed Clark of the Placer County sheriff's office said one of the skiers set out to get help while the other stayed with Brackett, the Los Angeles Times said.

Brackett was taken to a Truckee, Calif., hospital where he died later that day.

Sgt. Paul Schmidt with the Nevada County coroner's office said an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death, the Times said.

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