Threat of avalanche delays Mont. search

By MATT GOURAS, Associated Press Writer Tue Jan 15, 12:30 PM ET

Flathead County Sheriff, Mike Meehan, left, speaks with Patrol ...HELENA, Mont. – The threat of another avalanche delayed search-and-rescue efforts Tuesday at the site of a large snow slide that killed two backcountry skiers near the Whitefish Mountain Resort in northwestern Montana.

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Authorities still didn’t know if more skiers were caught in Sunday’s avalanche. Witnesses have said they saw two other people in the area of the slide, although authorities have not received any missing person reports.

A storm moved through the area early Tuesday, bringing high winds and heavy snow that could prompt another slide. Flathead County Sheriff Mike Meehan said the search will resume once authorities can determine the area is safe.

Rescuers have faced difficult terrain, including trees downed by tons of snow crashing down a mountain and miserable weather as they search. Some 100 rescuers on Monday used long poles to probe the snow every few inches to look for possible victims. Search dogs and a helicopter also assisted in the effort. [Full story]

Associated Press writers Len Iwanski and Katie Oyan in Helena contributed to this report.

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