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Avalanche survivor was buried for 90 minutes

Published February 17, 2014 2:33 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ketchum, Idaho • An avalanche in central Idaho buried four people, killing an Idaho man whose wife survived being buried under the snow for about 90 minutes.

The Blaine County Sheriff's Office says the avalanche occurred shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday in the Smiley Creek area about 36 miles north of Ketchum.

Robert and Susan Swanton of Sutherlin, Ore., were able to extricate themselves and begin looking for George Martin Jr. of Bellevue, and his wife, Lesley.

The Swantons found Martin after about an hour, but they were unable to revive him. They couldn't find an avalanche-beacon signal for Lesley Martin, so they rode a snowmobile to the highway to flag down help. Lesley Martin was taken to the hospital for treatment of hypothermia.

Meanwhile, a friend of the two Wisconsin skiers killed in a Colorado avalanche said Monday that the two were close buddies who loved to spend time on the slopes and mountain-biking trails.

Joey Kindred of Tomah said he used to go skiing with 32-year-old Justin Lentz and 34-year-old Jarrard Law. The two Portage, Wis., men were killed Saturday afternoon.

Lentz and Law were kindhearted and smart, and both knew how to light up a room, Kindred said.

On Feb. 11, an avalanche in the Wallowa Mountains of eastern Oregon killed two backcountry skiers and seriously injured two others, officials said.