Update: Body of snowmobiler recovered after avalanche in La Sal Mountains

La Sal Mountains. File photo: National Park Service/Neal Herbert

GRAND/SAN JUAN COUNTY, Utah, Jan. 26, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The body of a Monticello man who was missing in an avalanche in the La Sal Mountains on Friday has been recovered, it was reported Saturday.

Both the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and San Juan County Sheriff’s Office posted the news of the recovery on Facebook in an article from the San Juan Record.

According to the post, Scott Pehrson Jr., 39, was snowmobiling with eight other people in Dark Canyon Basin on Friday, when he was caught in the avalanche at about 4:30 p.m.

The snow was estimated at 65 feet deep in some areas of the slide, and although his friends searched until dark Friday, they found only the snowmobile and a helmet, both severely damaged. There was no sign of Pehrson.

The possibility of another avalanche prevented search and rescue crews from going directly into the area until it had been checked and deemed safe enough to proceed on Saturday.

Pehrson’s body was recovered at about 4:30 p.m., after numerous searchers had been covering the area since Saturday morning.

“They were under the direction of San Juan County Sheriff Jason Torgerson and Emergency Services Director Kelly Pehrson,” the SJRecord article said.

Also involved in the search and recovery effort were Classic Air helicopter crews, Wasatch Backcountry Rescue, Powderbird, and Utah Department of Public Service.

A signal from Pehrson’s beacon was detected by the DPS helicopter, giving crews an idea of where to begin looking. Two search dogs from Powderbird also indicated that location, the post says.

The body was found about six feet below the surface and is now in the custody of the medical examiner’s office.

“Pehrson is survived by his wife Lashaye, four children, four siblings, parents Scott and Colleen Pehrson and a large extended group of grieving family and friends,” the SJRecord reported.

About 65 residents from San Juan and Grand counties volunteered to help with the search.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends who are grieving at this time, and express our utmost appreciation for those who work and volunteer so much of their strength and time whenever called upon in times of need,” the sheriff’s post said.

It also urged all travelers, snowmobilers and other winter outdoor enthusiasts to check https://utahavalanchecenter.org for current risks and safety precautions.


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