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On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, at approximately 3:30 p.m. Blaine County Emergency Communications received a report of an avalanche with snowmobilers possibly buried in the Baker Creek area, approximately 20 miles north of Ketchum, Idaho.
Blaine County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Sun Valley Fire Department, Ketchum Fire Department, Ketchum Ambulance, Wood River Fire and Rescue and Sun Valley Heli-Ski were dispatched to the coordinates provided.
Deputies were able to determine that two people were riding snowmobiles in the area of the trailhead at the end of Baker Creek Road when the slide occurred. After the slide one of the riders began looking for the second rider. Kirk Douglas Rongen, age 50 of Jerome Idaho was located by his transponder, but was unable to be revived and passed away at the scene.
The Sawtooth Avalanche Center will be investigating the technical aspects of the slide. Initial reports indicate that a slab avalanche failed on a wind-loaded south/southwestern slope near 9000 feet. Avalanche conditions for this zone were rated as considerable on Wednesday. The Sawtooth Avalanche Center publishes daily forecasts at www.sawtoothavalanche.com
Sheriff Steve Harkins
Posted January 16, 2020 @ 1:00pm
CONTACT: Holly Carter – Blaine County Sheriff’s Office (208) 788-5536