31-year-old woman dies of Mono avalanche injuries
A 31-year-old Mammoth Lakes woman died Wednesday of injuries she suffered in an avalanche at Black Smith Canyon near Bridgeport despite her companion’s efforts to rescue her.
Shannon Kendall, Mono County Sheriff’s Department public information officer, said the woman’s name was withheld pending notification of relatives.
Kendall said two men and the victim had been backcountry skiing at the time of the avalanche shortly before noon.
Christopher J. Pearson, 27, of Mammoth Lakes was caught in the avalanche but was able to hold on to a tree until it subsided. Joshua Feinburg, 30, of Mammoth Lakes was buried, but Pearson saw his backpack and shoveled him out. The woman was on top of the snow.
According to Kendall, she suffered a broken femur, broken back, and head injuries and was slipping in and out of consciousness.
Feinburg was not breathing, but was revived after Pearson cleared his airway. His major injury was a large cut to his lower jaw.
After Pearson moved the victims to safety, he skied down to the Mono Village store area to call for help.
Mono County Sheriff’s Department personnel and 13 members of the volunteer Search and Rescue Team responded.
Kendall said the remote location of the avalanche impeded rescue attempts.
Emergency personnel administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other lifesaving techniques while waiting for the helicopter.
She was pronounced dead at University Hospital near Fresno.
Feinburg was escorted down the mountain by the rescue workers and was administered first aid at the base of the mountain by medics.
“All three skiers were extremely experienced and carried avalanche beacons with them,” Kendall said.
“It is likely that the warmer temperatures contributed to the avalanche. While this was a horrible tragedy, it serves as a reminder of just how dangerous the back country can be during the winter.”
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