Two deaths have been confirmed in the US after two separate avalanches in Colorado and New Mexico trapped skiers in crushing snow this week and last.
Authorities in Aspen, Colorado confirmed the most recent death on Monday, which happened to be the same day that relatives of a New Mexico avalanche victim announced their loss. A second victim of the New Mexico avalanche had already been reported.
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release that 26 rescue workers were dispatched after the Colorado avalanche, but that weather and avalanche conditions made rescue operations difficult.
“Twenty six members of Mountain Rescue Aspen were involved in the mission that quickly turned into a recovery operation for the deceased skier. Rescuers were hampered by weather and local avalanche conditions,” the release said.
The office’s statement continued: “The deceased male’s name is being withheld upon notification of next of kin. The remaining members of the skiing group were transported out of the area by rescuers and were put in contact with the Aspen Hope Center for grief counseling services.”
The unnamed man was reportedly among six skiers who were caught int he avalanche at around 10.20am local time on Monday. Attempts to resuscitate the man were unsuccessful. The other skiers were alive and safe, according to the sheriff.
The victim of the New Mexico avalanche was identified on Tuesday by family as Corey Borg-Massanari, a 2015 Minnesota high school graduate.
“Corey was known for his smile, his quirky sense of humor and his unique sense of style,” read a statement from New Mexico Donor Services provided to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Corey was an experienced and avid skier, and loved the outdoors. He enjoyed camping, fishing, zip-lining, snowmobiling, dirt biking and so much more.”
The New Mexico avalanche last week killed one other individual as well, 26-year-old Matthew Zonghetti, of Massachusetts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report