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Missing snowboarder found deceased at Squaw Valley

04 March 2018

Two women and three men were eventually rescued from beneath the snow.

Around 11:50 a.m. rescuers found that three people had been partially buried, but were able to free themselves. At this time, there are no confirmed missing people.

Rocklin resident Wenyu Zhang, 42, was found by Squaw Valley Ski Patrol, according to the Placer County Sheriff's Office. In total, over 100 professional ski patrollers, emergency responders, and multiple avalanche rescue dogs responded to the incident.

On Friday, another snowboarder, Heather Turping, 39, heard someone scream "Avalanche!" as she saw a "cloud of snow coming down". We hope for the full and speedy recovery of the injured guests, and extend our thoughts and support to all those involved.

Guests at the resort had been warned of the potential danger, and explosives and other preventative measures were used on Friday, but the snowfall was heavy, Squaw Valley spokeswoman Liesl Hepburn told the AP. "The Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows team extends its vast appreciation for the professionalism of all of the staff and responding agencies involved in this incident". Five guests were swept up in its path and one was reported to have serious injuries.

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Resort officials said the avalanche occurred at about 10:15 a.m. while resort workers were in an area closed to the public attempting so-called avalanche mitigation, which includes purposely creating smaller slides.

The Placer County Sheriff's Department tweeted Friday that it appears that all skiers and snowboarders had been accounted for, Sheriff's officials say the avalanche occurred at about 3 pm.

Officials said 87 percent of those in the threatened areas complied with the evacuation order. PCSO Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue began searching late last night when Zhang did not return from the ski hill.

The sheriff says Zhang was wearing a helmet when he was found at the resort south of Truckee, California. His cause of death is unknown.

Check back for updates.

Missing snowboarder found deceased at Squaw Valley