Snowboarder killed in Haines avalanche was ‘buried’ in yard-deep snow
More details emerged Thursday about an avalanche that killed a Haines snowboarder on Wednesday, marking the state’s second fatal slide in less than a week.
Troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said the avalanche that struck David Dzenawagis, 34, occurred Wednesday afternoon near Takshanuk Mountain at an elevation of about 1,400 feet.
“Dzenawagis was below the other two [skiers] when one of them set off the avalanche that swept Dzenawagis,” DeSpain wrote. “He was buried in approximately 3-5 feet deep [of] snow.”
The skiers with Dzenawagis estimated that it took seven to eight minutes to find him, then they began CPR and called 911. An initial call reached Haines police at 12:44 p.m., with a helicopter launched from the Haines airport at 1:19 p.m. and arriving at 1:43 p.m.
Dzenawagis was pronounced dead at 1:50 p.m.
“EMS was brought in by helicopter, because it would have taken too long to bring them in by snowmobile,” DeSpain wrote. “It took the two skiers with him over an hour to get back to the trailhead after Dzenawagis’ body was picked up by the helicopter.”
Another snowboarder, 33-year-old pilot Jeffrey Cheng, was struck and killed Saturday by an avalanche in the vicinity of Moose Pass near Seward.
Turnagain Pass, Girdwood Valley, Portage Valley, and areas on the Eastern Kenai Peninsula, including Summit Lake and the Seward zones are under an avalanche warning Thursday after heavy snow and strong winds hit the area.
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