Archive for Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Former resident dies in avalanche

March 3, 2004

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An avalanche killed a former Lawrence resident Saturday evening in Idaho.

Justin Dee Frederickson, 29, graduated from Lawrence High School in 1993 and lived in Kimberly, Idaho, at the time of his death. His parents, Dennis and Kathy Frederickson, still live in Lawrence.

According to Chief Deputy Gene Ramsey with the Blaine County (Idaho) Sheriff's Department, Frederickson and four friends were snowmobiling in the Baker Creek area, 50 miles north of Ketchum, Idaho. About 4:30 p.m., as the rest of his party was heading back, Frederickson decided to make one last run, Ramsey said.

An avalanche warning had been in effect in that area because several layers of weak frost were covered by layers of heavy snow. Ramsey said the force of Frederickson's snowmobile caused a fracture in the lower layers and the snow on top collapsed, burying Frederickson under six feet of snow.

"The snow machine was flattened," Ramsey said. "Even the exhaust pipes on the engine were flattened oblong. He was wearing a helmet, but it was never found."

Frederickson was wearing a tracking device called a peep that allowed his friends to find him under the snow. He was buried for 20 minutes by the time they reached him and was already blue with no pulse, Ramsey said.

Ramsey said the group had checked that area for weak spots in the snow. He said fracture lines signaling an avalanche usually appeared after one trip across on a snowmobile, but the group had gone across the area several times before triggering the avalanche.

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