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Avalanche in Cauterets, France – 14th of February 2018
Reported by: Manuel Freyche CRS Lannemezan
- A call was received in the evening saying that 3 skiers were missing. Unfortunately, the conditions were too dangerous to start a search the same evening.
- The following morning a helicopter brought a rescue team up to the main avalanche field (200m long and 100m wide). The deposit was at least 3 m deep.
- The rescue team consisted of 2 avalanche dog teams and 2 rescuers with RECCO detectors. They were told that none of the victims were equipped with transceivers.
- One rescuer quickly received a RECCO signal from the top but when checking with his probe he found that there were only rocks on less than 1 m. He folded his probe since it created distracting signals.
- He continued his research and quickly got a new signal around 7m from the exact location and marked the spot.
- 25m further down he got a second, very strong signal around 7m from the location.
- The rescuer continued to search towards the deposit, whereas a dog team and probing confirmed and excavated a victim at the second signal.
- Due to high risk of new avalanches the head of operation had to evacuate the area
- Before leaving the rescuer decided to double-check the area around the first victim but without result.
- He continued towards the first signal and half-way he got a third, very weak, signal, that he confirmed together with the dog team.
- The rescuer continued to the first signal that he could confirm, too. The 2 victims were then excavated and evacuated.
- The 3 victims were buried under approximately 2m of snow and excavated by 4 shovelers.
- The first 2 victims were marked 20 minutes after the start of the search and the third one somewhat later.
Avalanche in Vallon d’Arby, Riddes, Valais, CH – 16th of March 2018
Reported by: Raphaël Troillet, Mountain Guide & Ski Patroller Téléverbier, and Raphaël Richard, Mountain Guide & Rescuer Air-Glaciers
- 6 people were swept away by an avalanche with heavy snow, 4 of them were completely buried.
- The avalanche was 150m wide and 400m long.
- 2 victims were located with the RECCO system. The first one was buried under 6.5m, the second under 8m of snow.
- 2 rescuers searched with 2 RECCO detectors on the ground and marked 2 different points, 15m apart, with a rather vague signal between very large blocks of snow.
- The rescuers took each other’s positions in order to confirm the marks of the other one.
- After that a helicopter flew over the avalanche field with a RECCO helicopter detector, marking a very vague signal between the two zones.
- Since the victims could not be confirmed by probes, the snow ad to be evacuated bit by bit by pist machines, until the two bodies could be found under 6.5m and 8m respectively.
Lost skier in Squaw Valley, USA – 1st of March 2018
Reported by : Squaw Valley ski patroller
- A person who was reported missing on Thursday evening was located with a RECCO detector Friday morning.
- The call came late, around 9 p.m. Due to the high avalanche danger a search during the night was not possible.
- The search started the following morning in the skier’s last known location, and in a prioritized area.
- After a few minutes’ search with the RECCO detector, a signal was received from about 45 feet (10 m) away. The rescuer immediately closed in on the signal and found the person 3-5 feet (1-1.5 m) deep.