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Rescuers find body of Mt. Hood snowboarder

Rescuers find body of Mt. Hood snowboarder

August 5th, 2013 in News

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. (AP) - A dozen rescuers armed with chain saws and other tools chipped away at tons of ice and snow Sunday to the recover the body of a 25-year-old snowboarder killed when an ice tunnel collapsed on Oregon's Mount Hood.

The snowboarder, Collin Backowski, of Colorado, was traveling with five companions when the collapse hit Saturday afternoon. The others tried to dig him out but could not break through the ice and snow, which an official described as being as thick as concrete.

Rescuers quickly responded but halted efforts about 11 p.m. Saturday, then resumed early Sunday morning.

Hood River Sheriff's spokeswoman Tiffany Peterson said after removing tons of debris by hand, searchers found Backowski where he had been buried by 8 to 10 feet of snow and ice.

None of the searchers or other snowboarders was injured, Peterson said.

The ice tunnel was on the White River Glacier, which begins about 6,000 feet up the south side of the mountain.

An airplane was dispatched to the area, along with crews from local sheriff's offices.

Seven rescuers, including five members of an all-volunteer group called the CragRats, were on the mountain on Saturday night.

Warm temperatures made snow on the mountain slushier and more easily sloughed off the surface, adding to the challenge of attempting to reach the snowboarder.