UTAH COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – The body of a missing snowmobiler buried in an avalanche at Pole Canyon was found late Monday night, Utah County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Tuesday morning.
The body of Brett Howard Warner, 38, of Highland was reportedly buried underneath more than 22 feet of snow.
Search and Rescue efforts began around 6 p.m. on Monday, March 27 after authorities received reports of a pair of snowmobilers getting caught in an avalanche at Pole Canyon near Lewiston Peak.
The 911 caller, a family member of the victim who was snowmobiling with Warner, told the SAR they came from the Oquirrh mountain and into the bowl area near the top of Pole Canyon. The family member said they were turning back to head up the mountain when the avalanche started.
The family member was able to maneuver out of the way of the avalanche, but Warner was caught and buried in the slide.
SAR teams said both snowmobilers were carrying back country avalanche equipment including beacons, probes, shovels, and airbags. The airbags were designed to be deployed by the wearer, making it less likely to be completely buried. Warner reportedly told his relative he had deployed the airbag but because of the amount of snow, he was carried away and completely buried.
The family member reportedly used their beacons to pinpoint an area where Warner was buried and began shoveling after calling 911. When SAR members arrived, they also began searching using a probe that beeps more frequently as it approaches a beacon sending out signals.
Using two of the probes, rescuers were able to locate Warner more quickly under more than 22 feet of snow.
The snowmobile was found upside down with Warner face down underneath just after 8 p.m. on Monday night. Warner’s body was recovered and flown off the mountain by a Department of Public Safety helicopter.
SAR crews said the avalanche was one of the biggest they had seen, covering a distance of more than half a mile and estimated to be 30 feet deep.