Three Australians have been caught up in a deadly avalanche that claimed the life of a skier at the Palisades Tahoe ski resort in California, in the US.
One man suffered a non-life-threatening leg injury when he was trapped deep in snow, while two other Australians were unhurt — including another who was submerged in white powder.
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Kenneth Kidd, 66, has been identified by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office as the man killed in the disaster on KT-22, shortly after the run had opened for the first time this season.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr Kidd,” the department said.
Kidd and the injured Australian were guests of the resort. In total, three people were injured.
An Australian has been injured in an avalanche that claimed the life of a 66-year-old man. Credit: 7NEWS
Palisades Tahoe, which was formerly known as Squaw Valley and was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, is located about 160km northeast of San Francisco.
The avalanche happened about 9.30am local time on Wednesday.
Authorities said the avalanche debris field is approximately 45m wide, 140m long and three metres deep.
“This is a very sad day for my team,” Dee Byrne, president and chief operating officer of the resort, said.
“This is a dynamic situation, we’re still undergoing an investigation. We have a lot to learn yet,” she added.
It is still unclear what triggered the avalanche. Credit: AP
It was not immediately clear what triggered the avalanche, but heavy snow and high winds have pounded the mountainous area for the past day.
Michael Gross, vice president of mountain operations at Palisades Tahoe, said the resort’s ski patrol had been carrying out avalanche assessments in the area where the slide took place since Sunday and deemed it safe to open to the public.
He said it was normal to open a ski run amid heavy snow.
The resort will remain close while authorities investigate the cause of the avalanche.
– With AP