Man killed as avalanche buries group of snowmobilers

A 29-year-old Renton man was also found partially buried.

  • Monday, March 5, 2018 3:53pm
  • News

An Issaquah man was killed in an avalanche while he was eating lunch with a group of snowmobilers in the Stampede Pass area on Sunday.

The group of friends from Western Washington were sledding in the area of Mirror Lake, which is located south of Interstate 90 and Lake Keechelus. The five snowmobilers stopped at the base of the slope to eat lunch, when the slope above them broke free and swept them in an avalanche, according to the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office.

When the slide stopped, it fully buried 32-year-old Joseph Simenstad, his 30-year-old wife and 24-year-old son from Snohomish. The avalanche also partially buried a 29-year-old Renton man, and another unidentified man in the group.

The county’s search and rescue team dug out the snowmobilers, including the Snohomish man who was unconscious but was able to be revived. Simenstad suffered extensive trauma and could not be revived, according to the sheriff’s office. His wife also suffered minor injuries.

“On behalf of the sheriff’s office, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Mr. Simenstad as they work through the loss of their loved one,” said Kittitas County Undersheriff Clayton Myers in a press release.

In a separate incident, two teenage boys from Bellevue were also killed in a Snoqualmie avalanche over the weekend.

Sheriff’s officials reminded those who recreate in the back county “to be cautious of the past and current conditions, as they can change rapidly and without warning. Avalanche conditions are often the result of previous weather, sometimes from weeks prior. We encourage you to research and educate yourselves from the many sources available. Just Google ‘Avalanche Danger’.”


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