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Avalanche kills snowboarder near Lake Tahoe


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RENO, Nevada (CNN) -- A snowboarder buried under an avalanche near Lake Tahoe for nearly four hours died on the scene Sunday after search and rescue workers pulled him out of the snow, officials said.

Initial reports indicated the 25-year-old man survived the avalanche, after an emergency medical team decided to transport him to a local hospital, according to Sgt. Rich Hodges of the Washoe County Sheriff's Office.

But nursing supervisor Marilyn Hanson said the man died before reaching Washoe Medical Center.

The man had been snowboarding with two friends in an out-of-bounds area at the Mt. Rose ski resort when one of them triggered the avalanche at about 3:35 p.m. (6:35 p.m. ET), said Murray Blaney, sales director for Mt. Rose. The area was cordoned off and marked with signs, he said.

The searchers found the man nearly four hours later, Hodges said.

After dark, when some searchers left the mountain, dog teams remained and continued to look for the missing man, Hodges said.

Several feet of snow had fallen Sunday, and more was forecast for Sunday night, along with high winds.

Mt. Rose is on the northeast corner of Lake Tahoe, one of nine ski resorts around the lake.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, if an avalanche victim is found within the first 15 minutes, nine out of 10 survive. If found in the first 30 minutes, one out of two survive. After 35 minutes, one in three survive.

Nine out of 10 victims of avalanches trigger the avalanche.

To avoid avalanches, the center advises travelers to avoid steep slopes. Slope angles of 30 to 45 degrees are where most avalanches occur.



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