In what is surely the crappiest avalanche deaths of the season, a 10m square roof with 1m of snow on it avalanched onto 2 people, killing them. They both worked as water conservation professionals:
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Events Leading to the Avalanche
Both persons were below the roof with shovels when the accident occurred. There were no witnesses.
There were not witnesses to this accident.
First rescuers (2) arrived in the dark and had to hike in on an unplowed driveway about 150 yds. Initial rescuers inspected home and property for signs of missing persons. At the time it was not known that a roof avalanche was the problem. Third rescuer located subject 1 with spot probe almost immediately upon arrival near the north end of the deck. Subject 2 was located shortly thereafter about 10' away toward the south end of the deck.
There are no witnesses to the accident. This description is based on observations of rescuers, and the best guess of the investigators. Two people went to inspect a summer home. They intended to do some snow removal around the home and carried large scoop shovels. The house has a northeast facing deck that looks over the Rio Grande River. The roof does not extend over the deck. They circled the house and were walking on snow piled on the deck (depth above the short deck railing) when the entire northeast facing roof released. They most likely had little time to react to the avalanche. The edge of the roof was 1 to 2 feet away from them and a little above waist high. They either leapt for safety off the deck or were immediately knocked off the deck and both buried prone with their heads downhill in the direction of the avalanche flow. They were not carried downhill in the avalanche flow. They were buried where they fell or leapt off the deck.