ALL NEWS

Victims’ bodies recovered after fatal Millcreek avalanche

Feb 8, 2021, 12:21 AM | Updated: Feb 9, 2021, 5:48 am
Millcreek avalanche...
Search and rescue workers in Millcreek Canyon on Feb. 8, 2021. Photo credit: Salt Lake County Search and Rescue

SALT LAKE CITY  — The bodies of four avalanche victims were recovered on Sunday, one day after a significant avalanche struck in the Wilson Glades area of Alexander Basin in Millcreek Canyon.

According to Salt Lake County Search and Rescue officials, the recovery operation began at 7 a.m. Using rope-assisted ground operations at the scene of the accident and then a Department of Public Service helicopter, rescue teams were able to transport the four people off of the mountain.

The recovery was a combined operation that included volunteers from Wasatch Backcountry Rescue along with the Salt Lake County Search and Rescue team. During the process, the rescue workers had the victims’ families on their minds.


 “We wanted those families to know that we care about their loved ones and wanted them to be able to return to them, as quickly as possible,” one rescuer said.

The victims of the Millcreek avalanche were identified by mid-Sunday morning.  The Unified Police Department confirms that Sarah Moughamian, age 29, of Sandy, Utah, and Louis Holian, age 26, Stephanie Hopkins, age 26, and Thomas Louis Steinbrecher, age 23, all from Salt Lake City, Utah, died as a result of the avalanche.

“Our condolences go out to the family and friends of the four avalanche victims,” said Salt Lake County Search and Rescue in a statement.

“SLCOSAR wishes to thank Wasatch Backcountry Rescue, Intermountain Lifeflight, the Department of Public Safety, the United States Forest Service, the Utah Avalanche Center, and Brighton, Solitude and Alta Ski Patrols for providing resources and support during this tragic accident.”

“Our hearts go out to loved ones of the skiers lost in Saturday’s avalanche,” said Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera.


 

What happened?

The Unified Police Department (UPD) says that two groups, totaling eight people, were skiing in the Wilson Glade area of Millcreek Canyon when the avalanche was unintentionally triggered.   All eight people were swept up in the powerful slide, and four were able to dig themselves and the others out. 

“All eight skiers were well prepared and had the necessary equipment for the conditions,” the UPD said in a statement.

The survivors, males ranging in age from 23 to 38, were airlifted off of the mountain by Life Flight helicopters and crews. According to the UPD, none of the survivors suffered life-threatening injuries.

Due to unstable conditions, efforts to recover the four deceased skiers were halted until Sunday morning.

fatal avalanche in Millcreek Canyon, Utah

Image provided by the Utah Avalanche Center.

Avalanche danger in Utah continues

The beginning of 2021 has been a dangerous time for Utahns in the backcountry.  There have been six avalanche fatalities recorded in Utah since January 8.

The Utah Avalanche Center reports that the snowpack across Utah is generally weak and presents outdoor enthusiasts with dangerous and complex conditions. Those who choose to travel in the backcountry should avoid being on, near, or under any steep slopes.

 

A GoFundMe* has been set up to “support the survivors as they grieve, victims’ families, the UAC and Wasatch Backcountry rescue.”

*KSL NewsRadio does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk. 

Related reading:

WATCH: Backcountry sledder captures avalanche in Summit County, Utah

Officials say man buried in Park City avalanche has died

Avalanche victim identified as long-time Park City resident

 

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Authorities in Washington County are investigating the discovery of the body of a 36-year-old man e...
Devin Oldroyd

UPDATE: Southbound I-15 lanes in Washington County reopen following closure

Utah Highway Patrol reports the partial closure of a portion of southbound I-15 in Washington County. This comes after a trailer rolled Sunday evening.
19 hours ago
major storm...
Samantha Beech and Keith Allen, CNN

Thousands of US flights delayed Sunday as major storm system hampers travel

A major storm across parts of the United States prompts the three major airports servicing New York City to urge passengers to arrive early for flights
19 hours ago
winter storm...
Devin Oldroyd

UDOT warns winter storm bringing roadway impacts

The Utah Department of Transportation is warning drivers that an upcoming winter storm will impact the road from 6 am Monday to noon Tuesday.
19 hours ago
I-15 crash in Murray...
Devin Oldroyd

One person flees I-15 crash in Murray

One person fled from an I-15 crash in Murray Sunday afternoon. According to Utah Highway Patrol, the suspect has been apprehended.
19 hours ago
An attendee walks through the Midway Ice Castles during opening night in Midway on Friday, Dec. 29,...
Devin Oldroyd

Construction begins on Midway ice castles on icicle at a time

Construction has begun on the Midway ice castles. Each castle is crafted one icicle at a time according to a press release.
19 hours ago
Irene Cara in 'Fame' (Photo courtesy of Mgm/Kobal, Shutterstock)...
MARK KENNEDY, AP Entertainment Writer

‘Fame’ and ‘Flashdance’ singer-actor Irene Cara dies at 63

singer-actress Irene Cara, who starred and sang the title cut from the 1980 hit movie “Fame” and then belted out the era-defining hit “Flashdance ... What a Feeling” from 1983's “Flashdance,” has died. She was 63.
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Victims’ bodies recovered after fatal Millcreek avalanche