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2 dead, 1 missing, 2 hurt in U.S. West avalanches

SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash., April 13 (UPI) -- Avalanches killed two people, left a third missing and injured two others in the U.S. West in recent days, authorities said.

Two snow slides occurred near Washington's Snoqualmie Pass Saturday, KOMO-TV, Seattle, reported.

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The first avalanche, which occurred on Granite Mountain buried a 60-year-old snowshoer, who was still missing Sunday. Two others were injured.

"One of the climbers tells me that they had no warning," Sgt. Katie Larson of the King County Sheriff's Office said. "The avalanche, at this point, from what he's describing, is 30 feet wide, 8 feet deep and about a quarter-mile long."

She said one hiker's global positioning device showed they were carried more than 1,200 feet down the mountain at speeds up to 53 miles per hour, KOMO-TV said.

The survivors are both from the Kent-Auburn area. One had shoulder injury and the other an injured hamstring. The missing snowshoer had not been identified but was described as also from the Auburn area.

The second avalanche occurred on Red Mountain where a group of about a dozen people were snowshoeing. Two hikers were buried and one of them, a woman, died several hours after being dug out from 6 feet of snow, The Seattle Times reported.

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The survivor, Chris Soun, was rescued by friends who found him under the snow against a tree.

"I thought I was dying," Soun said. "... I couldn't see anything."

Meanwhile, authorities in Utah said Saturday avalanche forecaster Craig Patterson, 34, who was killed in a slide Thursday, was sent plummeting nearly 1,400 feet over cliffs and through trees by a 45-foot-wide wall of snow.

Patterson was checking the snowpack near Kessler Peak in Big Cottonwood Canyon when he likely triggered the avalanche that killed him, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

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