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Accident: Seward

Location: Madson Mountain, Crescent Lake

Date
Sat, March 9th, 2019
Activity
Ski
Fatalities
1
Summary
Two skiers caught, one buried and killed.
Accident Report

At 3:25 pm on March 9th, 2019 two skiers and a snowboarder on a multi-day cabin trip were involved in an avalanche on a treed slope just east of the Crescent Saddle Cabin. Two skiers were caught, Skier 1 was pushed against a tree immediately but not buried, Skier 2 was carried downslope and buried ~6 ft. deep. Skier 2 was located and had an airway established within 10 minutes but was found unresponsive. CPR was performed for over 30 minutes unsuccessfully. The snowboarder traveled toward the trailhead to call for help via cell phone while Skier 1 stayed with the victim. U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement officers, Alaska State Troopers and Moose Pass Emergency Services were able to respond to the accident site with snowmachines later that evening and transport the deceased to the Carter Lake trailhead, MP 34 of the Seward Highway.

CNFAIC staff visited the site on Tuesday March 12th with the two survivors during a break in the weather. The crown was completely blown in by the time of the site visit. Due to continued avalanche hazard, traveling to the top of the slope was determined to be unsafe. Snowpack and likely weak layer information was gathered from a snowpit dug adjacent to the avalanche path at a lower elevation (~1,800’). Many dimensions are estimated from the description of the group involved and Google Earth imagery.